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In Mr. Mowrer's considered opinion based 
on first-hand observation in the field, Japan 
can't win. He gives as his reasons : 1 ) the in- 
ability of the Japanese to "occupy" more of 
China than the ground their troops stand on; 
,2) the steadily awakening national conscious- 
ness of the whole Chinese people. 

To write this book, the distinguished Amer- 
ican foreign correspondent long with the 
Chicago Daily News interviewed hundreds of 
native Chinese as well as scores of foreign 
observers. He talked with business men, man- 
darins, military authorities, women, workmen, 
refugees. His book is the most penetrating 
study yet made of an ancient civilization caught 
in the turmoil of a bitter war. 

$&pks by Mr. Mowrer 





m a j* ^ * 
t a *,- * 


A Report from China 








i England with the title Mowrer in 
China. Maps appearing in the text were drawn by 
Marthe Rajchman. Quotations from The Tinder 
Box of Asia by George Sokolsky, Doubleday, 
Doran, New York, 1932 are by permission of 
the author and publisher. 

All rights reserved. This book, or parts thereof, 

must not be reproduced in any form without 

permission of the publisher. 

















INDEX 238 







THE JAPANESE ADVANCE (4, 5, 6, 7) 157 



THIS talk of China wearing out Japan is all 
very well," said the Experienced Diplomat, 
"but just how much do you know about China?" 

"Practically nothing," I admitted. "This is my 
first visit." 

"Precisely," he grunted. "And you can't learn 
much about China by mere reading. . . . Have an- 
other drink?" 

The night was stifling, hot and moist like a Turk- 
ish bath. I accepted the offer. 

"Boy," shouted my host, "boy, bring Master 
here another gin and tonic water and put plenty 
of ice in it." He turned to me: 

"The trouble with most of this talk of China 
winning is that it comes from people who are either 
ignorant or emotionally prejudiced. It comes from 
the missionaries or the other foreigners who have 
lived a long time in China, or from radicals who 
naturally hate Japan. In both cases it is wishful 

"The missionaries know a lot about China and 
nothing about the rest of the world. How can they 
judge? They got so used to seeing the Chinese run 
away from a shadow or sell out their country or 



their party to the first bidder that, when a few 
Chinese who had been trained by German experts, 
actually fought back, when the Chinese rulers for 
once didn't sell out, these foreigners went crazy 
and pronounced China invincible. Rubbish! 

"The radicals are idealists, therefore incapable 
of seeing anything as it really is, 

"Now, I know China and Japan and a good deal 
of the rest of the world. I don't tell you the Japs 
are irresistible: any good Occidental army could 
teach them their place, as General Alexander von 
Falkenhausen was saying the other day. But the 
Chinese aren't Occidentals. They have never had 
much of an army and are not a fighting people. 
They are individualists; each of them thinks only 
of himself and his family. Patriotism, as we know 
it, is remote to them. The Kwangtung crowd around 
Canton are just merchants and laundrymen: they 
talk big but they haven't any guts. The Kwangsi 
crowd and the Northerners can fight for a minute, 
but sooner or later they will begin quarreling and 
then one of them will make his peace with the Japs, 
and China will collapse like a circus tent when the 
props are taken away. Just as it always has. Maybe 
a people can change in the course of a thousand 
years, though if you read your Tacitus you will see 
that the Germans haven't changed much since Ro- 
man days. But who believes you can transform over 
four hundred million human beings in a generation 
or two? China will remain the jellyfish it always has 


been, at least for a very long time. This talk of 
New China is hardly better than nonsense." 

For a while the Experienced Diplomat pulled at 
his Manila cigar. Then he continued: 

"Now you are an old newspaper man without 
any prejudices " 

"Not so/ 5 I felt obliged to interrupt "I am op- 
posed to aggression." 

"Well, anyway, you aren't a communist or a 
radical and you've been about enough not to let 
your sympathies interfere with your judgment. 
How many armies did you say you had been with? 
Six? Well, go into China; go to Hankow to see the 
Chinese leaders; get to the front and see the Chi- 
nese army; get out into the backwoods and meet 
the older type of cultured Chinese as well as the 
smart returned students from abroad; then come 
back and tell me how you feel about China's chances 
of resisting a great modern country like Japan. I 
am willing to trust your common sense." 

I did all he told me to do. I interviewed scores 
and scores of foreigners, as well as hundreds of 
Chinese. I went to Hankow; I saw the Chinese army 
on the Northern Front; and after a final swing 
through the remote interior of China, I flew back to 
Paris. There was no opportunity of giving a verbal 
report to my friend, the E. D. This little book is my 
substitute. This is my judgment 



[ Japan have fought intermittently for 

close on to thirteen hundred years. It was in 

the year A.D. 661 that the first Japanese attack on 
China occurred. The emperor Saimei sent his Gen- 
eral Kotzuke with twenty-seven thousand men to 
attack Korea, which was then a Chinese protecto- 
rate. The invaders were met by the Chinese Em- 
peror Kao Chung of the Tang Dynasty who, in a 
combined land and naval battle at Chemulpo, com- 
pletely routed them. For more than six hundred 
years there was peace between the two countries. 
In the next war, China, under Kublai Khan, was 
the aggressor. But Kublai's invincible armada that 
was to conquer Japan was destroyed, much like that 
of Philip of Spain, by a typhoon. Thus encouraged, 
Japan repeatedly attempted to pillage or attack 
China. This process continued to the complete Japa- 
nese victory of 1895, when the corrupt Manchu- 
ruled Chinese Empire virtually collapsed and was 
compelled to cede outright to Japan all of Korea 
and the Island of Formosa as well. 

Chiefly notable in this long duel was the almost 


invincible Chinese preference for being let alone 
(broken only when China was ruled by the anything 
but peaceful Mongol emperors), and the incurable 
Japanese penchant for war. Each Chinese success 
brought about a prolonged period of tranquillity, 
each Japanese victory paved the way for a new 
aggression. In other words, the most pacific great 
country known to history, a fountain of art and 
science, was almost continually upon the defensive 
against one of the most bellicose, rooster-like peo- 
ples on the globe, and able to defend itself chiefly 
by its bulk, its riches, and its brain power. 

The Japanese invasion of China in 1937 was, 
therefore, anything but a novelty. To the Japanese 
ruling class, a group of people who saw nothing 
amiss in the sale of Japanese children as factory 
workers and prostitutes by their parents, there was 
also nothing morally wrong in an endeavor to en- 
slave and to stupefy and thus immobilize over four 
hundred million human beings by forcing the use 
of narcotics upon them. After all, had not Great 
Britain exploited whole generations of English chil- 
dren in factories? Had not Great Britain compelled 
China to open its doors to Indian opium less than a 
century before? Morality aside, however, the date 
chosen for the new aggression offered evidence of 
a certain time-lag in the calculation of the Japanese 
military leaders, whose wits were never of the sharp- 
est. For this last aggression marked an attempt to 
transform China's semi-colonial position into that 


of an undeclared but completely vassalized depend- 
ency of Japan, and this at a moment when not only 
China, but other Asiatic countries like Mesopo- 
tamia, Persia, Siam, and even India, had begun to 
emerge from their previous inferiority toward the 
conquering Occident. The tide of history was run- 
ning strongly against imperialism. 

At a time when China was positively thrilling in 
the throes of a national rebirth, the Japanese con- 
tinued to consider it something less than a nation, 
to mistake its intensely patriotic leaders for corrupt 
condottieri and its heroic bamboo-hatted, umbrella- 
carrying, barefoot soldiers for mere passive con- 
scripts or avid hirelings. The visual error was clear 
to the disinterested, but the Japanese eyes were 
closed by the immensity of the national conceit. 
They were all the more determined that China 
should, before it was too late, be reduced to com- 
plete colonial servitude; it should, that is, develop 
little or no industry of its own, but instead provide 
an inexhaustible source of raw materials and per- 
manently servile customers to Imperial Nippon* 

Now, it was not Japan's fault that China had, in 
the Nineteenth Century, fallen victim to Occidental 
colonial imperialism and it was to Japan's honor 
that its military temperament saved it from a simi- 
lar fate. Nor was it the Westerners who debased the 
Chinese, or taught them the use of opium, or the 
financial corruption, the organic disunity and in- 
efficient administration which marked them out to 


be the economic and often the military prey of ex- 
pansive nations. Provocative weakness does invite 
mistreatment, and the Chinese were both provoca- 
tive and incredibly weak. As George Sokolsky wrote 
in his controversial book, The Tinder Box of Asia 

The history of the foreign relations of China is a suc- 
cession of outrages committed against foreign lives and 
property, and all foreigners gaining thereby a wholly 
unrelated and disproportionate reward. 

At any event, by the outbreak of the Great War 
in 1914, foreign countries had not only chipped off 
numerous bits of China, like Hong Kong, as colo- 
nies, but had obtained as trading centers any num- 
ber of so-called "concessions," meaning virtually 
real possessions, in the midst of the most important 
Chinese towns. Foreign citizens possessed extrater- 
ritorial rights, controlled the customs and the postal 
services, impounded the principal revenues, col- 
lected permanent tribute, owned more than half of 
Chinese industry, had financial liens on all sorts of 
things offered as collateral on the loans for which 
the corrupt Chinese were forever pleading. Great 
Britain, France, Russia, Germany, even Portugal, 
dominated China, with Japanese influence growing 
from year to year. 

As fellow Asiatics themselves narrowly escaping 
a fate like China's, the Japanese might properly 
have put themselves at the head of an anti-imperi- 
alist movement for Asiatic liberation. Instead, they 


chose rather to join the Occidental exploiters and 
eventually to go them one better. 

In 1900 Japan was proud to participate with 
the Western countries on equal terms in "punish- 
ing" the Chinese for the Boxer outrages. In 1904 
Japan fought and worsted Russia over the right to 
dominate Manchuria. When the entire European 
world went to war, Japan seized the German pos- 
sessions. Then, in 1915, it forced upon China the 
incredible "Twenty-one Demands" the result of 
which would have been to turn China into an almost 
exclusive fishing ground for Japanese financiers, 
industrialists, and military men. 

Of the five groups into which the "Demands" 
were divided, China was bullied into accepting 
four. All seemed set for the permanent enslavement 
of the effete Chinese by Japan. Japanese troops oc- 
cupied large sections of Shantung Province. When, 
after the Bolshevik revolution in Russia, the West- 
ern democracies intervened against their one-time 
ally, the Japanese made a very serious though 
clumsy attempt to set up Jap-controlled "White" 
Russian states in Eastern Siberia and Manchuria. 

An unexpected obstacle to Japanese designs 
turned out to be the United States, whose Open 
Door policy had long been a thorn in the flesh of 
the other imperialists. By virtually deciding the 
war in Europe, and by bringing China into it, the 
United States did not prevent Japan from inheriting 
the German Pacific Islands it had occupied, but it 


did compel Nippon to disgorge what it had swal- 
lowed of Shantung Province. A couple of years 
later American naval preponderance, plus the 
threat of still greater preponderance, enabled the 
Americans at Washington to secure British and 
Japanese acceptance of the Naval Limitations 
Treaty and the Nine-Power Treaty that pledged its 
signatories unconditionally to respect Chinese ter- 
ritorial integrity and independence. 

China was saved, but China was on the verge of 
anarchy. The Republic of 1911 and of Sun Yat-sen 
had broken up into a number of warring provinces, 
each dominated by a local "war lord/ 9 The nominal 
Central Government at Pekin had no authority, A 
Russian-sponsored attempt at communist revolu- 
tion added to the confusion. Though this was the 
period (the early 'twenties) when "liberal" Japa- 
nese governments claimed to be friendly to China, 
their friendship continued to take the form of fi- 
nancing, encouraging and using the "war lords" in 
order to further the spread of anarchy, just as they 
had used and then broken the first President of 
the Chinese Republic, Yuan Shi-kai, during the 
World War. 

When, between 1925 and 1927, a half-com- 
munist Kuomintang government rose to the top 
and instigated a vast and disgraceful outbreak 
against Westerners in China, Japan, that later 
champion of anti-communism, never moved a fin- 
ger, for such outbreaks obviously promoted the dis- 


order necessary to the furtherance of Japanese 
ambitions. Subsequently, Chiang Kai-shek broke 
with his Soviet backers, when the Japanese en- 
couraged him to waste the national energy and sub- 
stance in fighting the communists. But when his 
armies began to move northward in an obviously 
successful attempt to unite China, the Japanese 
prevented them by force from entering Manchuria, 
already marked out for seizure. 

In vain! The forces behind Chiang Kai-shek were 
those of national revival. Renascent China found 
assistance abroad. In 1931 Chiang's brother-in-law, 
the gifted T. V. Soong, worked out with the League 
of Nations a vast plan for the regeneration and 
modernization of the entire country. From the view- 
point of the Japanese, something had to be done or 
China might be permanently consolidated. The Jap- 
anese quickly picked a quarrel with the Chinese 
authorities in Manchuria and seized the country, 
setting up as a puppet Emperor the last descendant 
of the Manchus, Pu-yi. And when the indignant 
Chinese countered by a boycott of Japanese goods, 
the Japanese provoked an "incident" and, after 
much more severe fighting than was anticipated, 
eventually overcame the resistance of the Nine- 
teenth Chinese Route Army at Shanghai. 

In violating their pledges to the League of Na- 
tions, the Nine-Power Treaty, and the Kellogg Pact, 
the Japanese were cynically defying the civilized 
world. Italy alone seemed possessed by a philoso- 


phy similar to theirs. And unquestionably they went 
ahead with some trepidation, though their fears 
were groundless. The British Conservatives had 
long been aware of the obstacle that an effective 
i League offered to imperialism, including their own. 
Furthermore, they were all hot and trembling with 
that "bolshevitis" from which they seemed destined 
never to recover. Under British leadership the 
League limited its reaction to academic disap- 
proval of Japan's action, and while Japan simply 
walked out of the League the latter sent a scholarly 
committee of investigation to China which dis- 
covered there just what it had known before leav- 
ing. The American Secretary of State, Stimson, was 
unable to arouse any European enthusiasm for op- 
posing Japan, even morally and economically. The 
League, in its first crisis with what was then con- 
sidered to be a major power, failed. Its member 
governments were unredeemed cynics, who mouthed 
a mealy altruism while secretly condoning the op- 
pression of the strong by the weak. The peoples, 
insufficiently educated and all unaware that readi- 
ness to stop aggression anywhere by force was the 
kernel of the League and deliberately intended by 
the League's founders, shrank from anything s6 
"romantic" or "quixotic" as an effort to save rot- 
ten old China. And thereby the door was opened 
.upon a return to the naked law of the jungje'dear 
to militarist hearts, and the great aim of a*wqrld 
ruled, if necessary, sternly by law, went glimifter- 


ing. The American-fathered so-called Stimson Doc- 
trine of the non-recognition of territories acquired 
by force, though generally followed in regard to 
Manchuria, was later broken even by the United 
States when Nazi Germany simply jumped upon 
and annexed Austria. 

Japan's seizure of Manchuria began an era of 
systematic aggression, much of which was connived 
at by the government of Great Britain. In 1933 
Japan seized the Province of Jehol, contiguous to 
stolen Manchuria and declared to be essential to 
the latter's defense, and set up semi-controlled 
governments in Hopei and Shahar Provinces. Adolf 
Hitler slaughtered German democracy and started 
upon a remarkable career of broken pledges, in 
one of which naval rearmament Great Britain 
became his open confederate. 

In 1936 a Japanese expedition into Suiyuan 
Province in Inner Mongolia was withdrawn only 
when it met quite unexpected resistance. Italy, 
resolved upon violence since the advent of Benito 
Mussolini in 1922, finally attacked black Ethiopia 
in 1935, encouraged by Pierre Laval of France. 
League action, though tardily undertaken, was so 
half-hearted and feeble, that though it served to 
dupe the British people into supporting the Con- 
servatives at the general election, it did not deter 
the Italians. Whereupon, the following summer, 
those two strong-arm dynamists, Mussolini and 
Hitler, joined their forces in assisting a group of 


rebel Spanish generals in an insurrection against a 
perfectly legal but faintly "pink" Spanish Repub- 
lican government. The pretext was, naturally, de- 
fense against "bolshevism." Sly financiers and 
ignorant old gentlemen and fascists everywhere 
applauded mightily. Thanks to the cowardice of 
the French and the now almost open pro-fascist 
leanings of the British Conservative Cabinet, Ger- 
many and Italy were allowed to go ahead with a 
full-fledged invasion of Spain, whose ultimate vic- 
tims could only be France and the British Empire. 
The spectacle was so edifying Britain and France 
frantically preventing the League of Nations from 
taking any decisions against two bare-faced thieves 
that the "third robber," Japan, decided that here 
was a game worth playing and proceeded to form, 
with the two assailants of Spain, an "anti-com- 
munist" pact that virtually made Japan a part of 
the "Rome-Berlin Axis" which was claiming to 
dominate Europe. 

The moment seemed well chosen for once more 
rescuing the world from "bolshevism." Just at this 
time (Christmas, 1936) something extraordinary- 
happened in China: Chiang Kai-shek, as the result 
of a temporary kidnaping and a number of impor- 
tant discussions with his Chinese patriot captors, 
made his peace with the Chinese communists and 
secured their allegiance. In ten years, from 1927, 
Chiang had extended the rule of the Central Gov- 
ernment he represented from five of the eighteen 


provinces to all of them save those directly or 
indirectly under the Japanese boot. And even the 
northern rulers, whom the Japanese considered 
their puppets, began to feel the wave of patriotism 
that was sweeping the country and to gravitate 
toward Chiang Kai-shek. For example, General 
Sung, of the so-called Hopei-Shahar Government, 
became so busy in his native village sweeping the 
tombs of his dead ancestors, that he sometimes for- 
got to obey the orders from Tokyo. 

Thanks in part to Chiang's wise measures and 
his efforts at national moral regeneration, thanks 
to British assistance in stabilizing the Chinese cur- 
rency in 1935, China in 1937 was actually able to 
borrow in foreign markets for the first time in its 
history without collateral and at a low rate of inter- 
est. In both the military and economic fields the 
country was making enormous progress. Anti- 
Japanese feeling was growing along with self-confi- 
dence. Having had to choose between unity or 
absorption, the Chinese had chosen unity. 

What more outrageous "bolshevism" than this 
could be imagined! Tokyo considered the northern 
Five Provinces of China as already belonging to 
Japan. Was not Japan pushing smuggled goods 
into them with impunity and thus defrauding the 
Nanking Government of fifty million dollars a 
year? Had not Japan set up an entire semi-ofpeial 
machine for the debasing of the Chinese and the 
enriching of the Japanese by the unhampered 


facture and enforced sale of narcotics to Chinamen? 
The Five Provinces were rich: they contained iron 
and coal. China, in Japanese eyes, was to become 
another Korea, a sort of second British India con- 
ceivably independent in name, but practically sub- 
ject to Japan, with hired Chinese officials and cor- 
rupt "war lords" playing the role of the Indian 
maharajahs. Japanese industry demanded new milk 
pots to skim, Japanese military new and easy 
laurels. And so, following the tried and time- 
honored technique of first provoking "incidents," 
and then punishing the Chinese for allowing them 
to occur, the Japanese struck at the Marco Polo 
Bridge near Peiping, July 7, 1937. Again, with the 
blessing of Britain and conceivably of Germany, 
Japanese troops invaded the coveted provinces 
while warning the Chinese not to defend them. 

Now, of course, this was not the way the Japanese 
saw the situation. When, therefore, Chiang Kai- 
shek, against British advice, defied the invaders and 
sent his soldiers north of the Yellow River to de- 
fend Chinese territory, the Japanese determined to 
teach him a lesson. To them, Japan was fighting in 
"self-def ense" ; in defense, that is, of its right to 
treat the Chinese as it treated the Koreans and the 
natives of Formosa. Japan had extended the "hand 
of friendship" to China. What did these Chinese 
meto by their "insincere" conduct in refusing "to 
be toads"? The lords of the Far East would show 
them. ... A new "incident" perhaps deliber- 


ately provoked by the navy against the wishes of 
the army conveniently occurred on Hungjao Road 
in Shanghai, and Japan launched a second attack 
against that international town. What had the 
world's most terrible soldiers to fear? The League 
would eventually meet and register China's pro- 
test, powers like the United States would frown, 
but none would go to war to save China* Had not 
Britain's Foreign Minister, Anthony Eden, told the 
House of Commons ten days after the original "in- 
cident" that he "sympathized with Japan's difficul- 
ties"? Soviet Russia had accepted a minor humilia- 
tion in June on the Amur River: the country was 
weakened by Stalin's too frequent "purges" and 
was caught off its guard by the suddenness of 
Japan's action. Besides, what had mighty Japan to 
fear from American pacifists, pro-fascist British 
Conservatives, timid French provincials, or bearded 
Bolsheviks? Let them look out. And so, blithely 
and full of beans, the Japanese militarists set about 
teaching China a lesson. 

The historian may note with surprise how the 
Japanese leaders, remote physically and psycho- 
logically from the Western world, and neighbors 
of China, guessed to a T what the Occidentals 
would or rather would not do, while utterly 
failing to foresee the all but unanimous reaction 
of the Chinese. 

By September, 1937, two months after the out- 
break of the undeclared war, the Oriental Econo* 


mist, organ of the Japanese financial interests, could 
write that "Japan faces the most critical situation 
since the Empire's foundation." For the Chinese 
jellyfish had turned and its sting was biting deep 
into the pride and the body of Nippon. 


NOW that you have talked with the Governor 
of the colony,, Sir Geoffrey Northcote, you 
ought really to see the King," my German friend 
told me. "Unfortunately he is now in England." 

"The King?" 

"That's what we call him Sir Vandeleur Gray- 
burn, boss of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank 
and uncrowned King of this outpost of British 
interests in China. He could tell you a lot about the 
foreign attitude toward the Japanese invasion of 
China and the undeclared war if he would. 7 * 

"Is he so well informed?" 

"A mine of information. All about China just 
as it used to be. Of course, he has the foreign 
banker's slant: he has been in the Far East for 
years, and is reported only twice to have set foot 
on Chinese soil, at Canton, ninety miles from here. 
But he has plenty of sources and strong opinions. 
After all, this war will modify the future of all 
Western interests in China. That is why most of 
the foreign businessmen out here and the Hong 
Kong group has recently been reinforced by new- 
comers from Shanghai are inwardly cursing the 
Japanese invasion and hoping that the war can 



either be brought to a standstill fairly soon by what 
they call here 'an honest compromise/ or else that 
Japanese and Chinese will fight each other to a 
draw. In either case the foreign bankers would 
have a decisive word to say. For if the Japanese 
continue to prove unable to deal a mortal blow to 
China, and the Chinese cannot learn how to stand 
up in decisive battle against the better trained, 
better armed Japs, then the fight may boil down to 
a sort of economic and financial tug-of-war to see 
which side can hold out the longer. Japan is far 
better industrially equipped, far more modern and 
efficient; China has greater sources of wealth, 
tapped or potential, and conceivably more staying 
power. On the other hand, a Japanese victory, or a 
real Chinese success, cannot but diminish the power 
of the foreigner in China. Meanwhile, those who 
control the world's credit resources could do a great 
deal to tip the balance one way or the other, if 
only they could make up their minds which side 
they prefer to see win, if victory there must be. As 
I said before, it is a pity you cannot have a talk 
with Sir Vandeleur Grayburn." 

As one who had but set foot in the Far East I 
would have welcomed a talk with Hong Kong's 
"King," but it is doubtful if I should have been 
much wiser for it, for I had met the "imperialistic" 
or colonial attitude before. Here in this tiny colony, 
set on the rim of China like a sort of green cloud- 
wrapped Naples on a tropical sea, it was imme- 


diately plain how loath the many foreigners were 
to admit that they might be compelled to accept 
either a victory of national China or the virtual 
subjugation of China by Japan. Mediation, so 
plausible to many in Europe and America, already 
seemed infinitely remote. Neither China nor Japan 
was in the mood for it. Most of the foreign business- 
men one met, either of the old-fashioned red-faced 
type, or the younger less cocksure sort, were unable, 
after ten months of warfare, to make up their minds 
just which side they would like to see win. Senti- 
mentally, of course, most foreigners, including the 
Germans, naturally sympathized with China as the 
victim of a brutal and unprovoked aggression. 
They had not forgotten the Japanese conduct at 
Shanghai, the machine-gunning of the British Am- 
bassador, the sinking of the Panay. They were 
writhing under each new set of "orders" received 
from the Japanese naval forces lying off the mouth 
of the Pearl River that flows down from Canton, 
the deliberate firing on an Imperial Airways plane 
off the Ladrones Islands in February, 1938; they 
waxed sarcastic over the boasts of Toyoishi Naka- 
mura, Japanese Consul General in Hong Kong, for- 
merly in Canton, that Japan would take Hankow 
and the Chinese would collapse "within three 

For Japanese military prestige had fallen to a 
low ebb. Few of the foreign businessmen had for- 
gotten how they were virtually squeezed out of 


Jap-ruled Manchuria in defiance of promises and 
the "principle of the open door." There was a 
vast amount of ill-feeling concerning a, reported 
Japanese attempt to freeze British merchants out 
of the wool, fur and skins trade in North China, 
with the formation of a Japanese wool export asso- 
ciation to monopolize commerce. And the Japanese 
Consul General in Sydney, Australia, defined the 
Australian embargo on iron ore as something which 
"strained relations" between Australia and Japan. 
A Japanese subjugation of China, the setting up 
of a new Mongol puppet state, Mongokuo, in Inner 
Mongolia, might mean an even worse blow to for- 
eign interests in China and particularly to Hong 
Kong, which was enjoying a magnificent trade 
boom, due exclusively to the war. 

At the beginning of the aggression there is no 
doubt but that the majority of foreign business 
interests rather favored a Japanese victory. In the 
first .place, they anticipated it, and businessmen 
easily follow the philosopher Hegel in believing 
that "the real is the only rational." Furthermore, 
they felt themselves more akin in spirit to the pre- 
sumed "conquerors" modernized, efficient, and 
out for gain than to the sloppy, hard-working but 
essentially incompetent, corrupt, individualistic 
and xenophobe Chinese. (This, at least, was the 
picture that had been handed down by the "old 
China hands," who, like Sir Vandeleur Grayburn, 
had been on the ground for ever so long and ought 


to know.) These people decided long ago that Japan 
represented a "principle of order and discipline/' 
while, since the reconciliation with the communists 
in 1936, they had watched Chiang Kai-shek with a 
disapproval which Chiang's non-aggression pact 
with the Soviets had turned into definite suspicion 
that China was aiding in the "spread of bolshe- 
vism." (In Hong Kong, one learned, Bolshevism 
meant less a system of collectivized economy, for 
which few believed China to be ripe, than the 
growth of Soviet Russian influence and the curtail- 
ing of the amazing privileges of Westerners.) Japan 
began the invasion of China with a relatively large 
backing among important foreigners. But pro- 
Japanese feeling waned rapidly with the progress 
of the war, which revealed, at the same time, the 
unsuspected arrogance, the surprising incapacity, 
and the insatiate greed of the Japanese. 

It began at Shanghai. Few foreigners who under- 
went an experience with Japanese officers or sol- 
diery there managed to continue hoping for a 
Japanese victory. Japanese behavior toward the 
Chinese at Nanking and in the north went beyond 
what even hardened colonials, with memories that 
went back to Boxer times, could stomach. The 
Japanese bombardments of open cities, their posi- 
tive rage to obliterate Chinese universities and edu- 
cational institutions, their frightful treatment of 
Chinese women and girls under the eyes of their 
superior officers these sickened the foreign col- 


onies in the Concessions. The Chinese could be 
incredibly heartless and brutal according to Occi- 
dental standards. The Japanese were unquestion- 
ably worse. 

Still, the Japs seemed bound to win. The taking 
of Nanking convinced most Occidentals on the 
spot, as well as the Japanese generals, that Japan 
had already won. And then something happened: 
the vast ineptitude of the Japanese General Staif 
and the utter lack of discipline and unity within 
the army began to be clear. Foreigners, looking on 
with passionate interest, saw how the Japanese 
"columns," superior in every sort of equipment, 
dared not quit the railways and main roads and 
navigable rivers, and often proved unable to keep 
the bold Chinese guerrilla bands from cutting com- 
munications along them. They saw the so-called 
Japanese occupation boil down to long thin strings 
stretched across vast areas, in most of which Chinese 
civil administration continued to function under 
orders from the Chinese in Hankow. They saw how 
the Chinese "puppet regimes" failed to win the 
adherence of any real portion of the population, 
who, at every opportunity, turned upon and mur- 
dered the "Chinese traitors" who served on them. 
Such regimes, the only hope of making Japanese 
occupation effective, simply could not restore order. 
The Japanese-controlled "Provisional Government" 
at Peiping was unable to extend its authority be- 
yond the city walls. The Chinese "Heads" of the 


"Reformed Government,' 9 set up by the Japanese 
armies at Nanking, found it healthier to settle down 
under Japanese protection in the New Asia Hotel 
at Shanghai. 

On the other hand, guerrilla fighting went on all 
around the edges of Shanghai itself; Chinese mobile 
units came and went at night virtually as they 
pleased with the assistance of the entire population. 
They ambushed Japanese trucks on the highways, 
derailed Japanese troop trains; they killed quanti- 
ties of Japanese soldiers in isolated detachments 
or remote outposts. 

The foreign business and banking houses in the 
Far East are not primarily there for the realization 
of any special political ideals. In 1937 a Chinese 
victory, aside from opening the door on what was 
called bolshevism, might conceivably, in the minds 
of the businessmen, have meant the ejection of the 
foreigner from China under conditions of appalling 
anarchy and financial loss. The victorious Chinese 
might have refused to pay their honest debts or 
recognize foreign privilege. But a Japanese occupa- 
tion of China gradually began to look even less 
delightful for foreigners. China's unexpected mili- 
tary prowess and staying power obviously doomed 
the Japs to ten or twenty years of "pacification" 
during which trade and farming would be at an 
extremely low ebb. In the occupied regions there 
was a currency chaos with five kinds of money, a 
situation that was obviously going to get worse. 


Until the Japs advanced much further into China, 
Shanghai and most of the Treaty Ports would re- 
main cut off from their supply and distribution 
markets. One had but to compare their situation 
with that of Hong Kong, prosperous as the war 
port of entry for the Chinese Republic, to realize 
the danger. As a temporary condition, this might 
be tolerated if there was any certainty that it would 
eventually be followed by a return to the Open 
Door policy. But it was exactly this certainty that 
the Japanese attitude in the first months of the war 
destroyed. A nation with such a government, with 
such vast economic and political appetites, seemed 
bound, in any case, to seize and hold such Chinese 
economic districts as would make it independent 
of foreign imports. A notable instance was the 
cotton-growing region of North China. Before the 
war it produced about as much cotton as Japan 
normally imported; efficient Japanese directors 
could double the output and make Japan entirely 
independent of American and other cotton growers. 
The Japanese, unable as they were to make their 
occupation militarily effective, nonetheless initiated 
an elaborate plan for destroying Chinese factories 
outside the occupied zone, and for ousting Occi- 
dental interests and monopolizing Chinese markets 
and industry within it. At Shanghai complaints 
multiplied in the foreign consulates of all sorts of 
interference, from petty annoyance to downright 
robbery, at the hands of Japanese military and civil 


authorities, who behaved as though the International 
Concession were their personal property. And al- 
most immediately they set about making it so by 
the formation of huge official companies to monop- 
olize mining, power transportation, and most of 
trade. Tariffs were speedily revised in favor of 
Japan, at least on paper. Everything pointed to 
the establishment of an air-tight Japan-Manchuria- 
China economic bloc on the basis of nearly complete 
monopoly, if the Japs could complete the occupa- 
tion by the acquisition of Central China as far west 
as Hankow. The Japanese military authorities be- 
gan to exact "fees" and other forms of "squeeze" 
from the foreign owners of businesses and mills as 
the price of continued operation. The attitude of the 
foreign governments was so spineless that in many 
cases foreign victims, sure of receiving no eff ective 
backing from their several governments, preferred 
not to complain to their consuls, lest they be subject 
to reprisals. Redress for foreign interests was more 
or less rendered impossible, despite manifold 
threats, because the Japanese hid behind the screen 
of "puppet" Chinese governments, for whose ac- 
tions they disclaimed any responsibility. By a sys- 
tem of export licenses Japanese exporters were 
deliberately favored, while against this plot to 
delude and ease out the Occidental, individual 
Occidental firms were helpless. 

Obviously none of this escaped the foreigner. 
How judge it if not as part of a vast movement of 


"Asia for the Japanese"? What wonder if foreign 
opinion in places like Hong Kong underwent rapid 
change? A Japanese triumph would clearly be 
disastrous for the Westerners. So long as they con- 
tinued to fear a Chinese victory, the best they 
might hope for was the continuance of just enough 
Chinese resistance to baffle the invaders, but not 
enough to enable the Chinese to expel them. While 
the war was going on, Japan could not clinch its 
hold on China. Without a strangle-hold, Japanese 
monopolistic exploitation under a totalitarian eco- 
nomic system could not really get under way. 
Could the war be prolonged to the exhaustion of 
both sides, outside influence might have the final 
word. This was the hope still prevalent when I 
reached Hong Kong. 

But already many of the younger businessmen 
had felt compelled to relinquish it. Many of them 
believed that China stood the better chance to win. 
This belief was based on observation of something 
called New China. To the older fellows, or many 
of them, New China was just a bunch of Canton 
fire-crackers, going off with a loud noise and much 
smoke, leaving everything just as it was. To them 
the Chinaman, though perhaps no longer a creature 
to be "kicked off the dock" by the Occidental "mas- 
ter," was still essentially the feeble, corrupt being 
he had always been. The younger men doubted 
this. One of them explained to me the change in 
China in terms of growing and effective Chinese 


resentment of just such boisterous manifestations 
of Occidental superiority. "The Chink had been 
insolent as hell," he concluded, "and I longed to 
knock him down. But what was the use? If I had I 
knew he would have shot me dead. Believe me, 
your average Chinese is no longer taking anything 
from anybody." 

For, as I said before, businessmen are realists, 
or try to be. 

Hong Kong was enjoying a very real though pre- 
carious prosperity. Wandering along the docks 
beside the railroad terminal at Kowloon, it was 
easy to see why. Half a dozen freighters were tied 
up, while a horde of bare-footed coolies, the smile 
upon their faces even more inscrutable than usual, 
unloaded packing cases of various sizes and shapes. 
Most of these contained ammunition or high explo- 
sive, but there were boxes of rifles and machine- 
guns. Some cases, I afterwards learned, held air- 
plane motors from the United States. Most of the 
munitions I saw being unloaded came from Ger- 
many, but the British port authorities said that 
little more was expected from that quarter. The 
quota from America was, they thought, distinctly 
smaller than was being sent to Japan. The Soviets 
were becoming the greatest source of Chinese sup- 

Anyone could stand by and check up the quan- 
tities; anyone, that is, except the Japanese. Not 
even Toyoishi Nakamura cared to send Japanese 


agents, notebook in hand, to watch the docks. To 
do so might have been to condemn them to sudden 
death, not to speak of the scandal of "international 
incidents." For whatever the color of their pass- 
ports, the Chinese in Hong Kong were just about 
as Chinese as those in Hankow or Shanghai, and 
as little disposed to stand for spying by Japanese. 
Little the Japs needed to worry: had they not 
friends among the foreigners, and notably in the 
Italian Consulate? Among the foreigners in China 
only the Italians were giving whole-hearted sup- 
port to Tokyo. The Germans, despite the change in 
the wind at Berlin and the threatened recall of the 
German military advisers under General von 
Falkenhausen, remained fixed in their preference 
for China. There were numerous Germans in Hong 
Kong, and they made no bones of their disapproval 
of Berlin's love for the Japanese. In the meantime, 
they, too, were contributing to Hong Kong's pros- 
perity, and had helped make it the chief port of 
entry for China. Numerous wealthy Chinese, ever 
quick to take advantage of business opportunities, 
and perhaps aware of the charm of a city immune 
to the bombings that were making a purgatory of 
nearby Canton, had chosen Hong Kong as their 
temporary residence, and their wives and daughters, 
with the incomparable elegance of the well-dressed 
Chinese woman, gave its streets and ferry-boats 
added attractiveness. 

Why worry so long as the boom lasted, though 


from the golf course to the north of the city one 
could sometimes hear the machine-guns as the 
Chinese fired on the Japanese naval planes that 
bombed the precious railroad to Canton and Han- 
kow just outside the frontiers of the Colony? 

But it is difficult being nonchalant on a volcano. 
Britishers in Hong Kong had formed a Volunteer 
Corps and were drilling frequently. British war- 
ships (though not nearly enough to tackle the 
Japanese fleet) were constantly at anchor or com- 
ing and going across the incomparable harbor. 
Really, all Hong Kong was fascinated by the 
strange deadly struggle going on "in China 'cross 
the bay/' How would the cat jump? 

Two attitudes seemed possible. In view of Lon- 
don's anything but heroic attitude, the first was 
easier: try to be on the best possible terms with 
both sides, while hoping for a compromise or a 

The second attitude was less flaccid. Why not 
help to determine the outcome? By extending 
financial help to one or the other side, the foreign 
business interests, through their backers at home, 
might, indeed, say the decisive word my German 
friend expected. If mediation seemed impossible, 
and compromise a dream, somebody's victory ought 
perhaps to be hastened. Under the circumstances 
this somebody could only be China. 

Facing the busy docks, talking with the business- 


men beside beautiful Repulse Bay, I reached the 
following conclusion: 

So long as Hong Kong remained prosperous, the 
foreigners would be content to let nature take its 
course. But once let the Japanese cut Hong Kong 
off from China, and Colony neutrality could quickly 
give way to definite partisanship. At that moment 
(provided Japan still gave the same impression 
of weakness), how could foreign interests better 
serve international law and morality than by ex- 
tending generous help to China, the innocent victim 
of aggression? 

(Provided, of course, that China would then be 
certain to win.) 



NEW CHINA began at Canton, the "city of 
rams," the city of revolutions, the birth- 
place of Sun Yat-sen and Chinese nationalism, the 
chief window of China on the great wide world. 
The "rams" are largely forgotten, along with the 
legend that explained them. But pride in "revolu- 
tions," meaning primarily the great national revo- 
lution whereof the late Sun Yat-sen was the clearest 
voice, is strong with the modern Cantonese. And 
the city's role of gateway to the world, and chiefly 
to the Occidental world, is as marked as ever. 
First Chinese town with which foreigners came in 
contact the Arabs came here a thousand years 
ago, the Portuguese in 1511, the American and 
British tea clippers early in the Nineteenth Cen- 
tury Canton, or rather, Canton's citizens, have 
continually gone out to meet the foreigner at home. 
It is in Canton that most of the Chinese abroad 
originate and it is to Canton that they return later, 
laden with wealth acquired by their ceaseless labor 
and their nimble minds. Most important of all, it 
was to Canton that, in the Twentieth Century, most 
of the foreign-trained Chinese students returned 
bearing the ideas that were later to blossom as the 



Chinese national renascence. Little wonder that the 
revolution that overthrew the Manchus started here, 
to be completed later in the battles around the three 
Wu-han cities, of which Hankow is the best known. 
"Everything new originates in Canton," say the 
Chinese, who should know. To understand what 
was going on in China, one could hardly do better 
than start with a visit to Canton. 

Forget Shameen, one of those hygienic but tire- 
some "Concessions" the foreigners succeeded in 
wringing from the Chinese in the latter's decades 
of weakness, and where the foreigners still live a 
ghetto-like existence modeled on the dullest of 
Occidental models. Canton proper, Chinese Canton, 
the city of over a million patriots, is a fascinating 
paradox. From a window on the tenth floor of the 
modernly built and managed Oi Kwan Hotel, you 
could look over the incredible boat-dwelling popu- 
lation over a hundred thousand! that lives and 
dies in houseboats anchored twenty deep along the 
Pearl River banks. The river itself is like a giant 
pond heavy with silt across whose surface hun- 
dreds and hundreds of insect craft come and go, 
rowed, skulled, pushed, pulled, naphtha- and steam- 
propelled, with the huge junks and river boats and 
an occasional steamer rising high in their midst. 
This seems ancient China at its most picturesque 
and fearful. Leave the hotel and you are surrounded 
by a howling crowd of beggars in rags and sores, 
shrieking rickshaw boys, peddlers and idle citizens. 


Many of the streets are still as narrow, dirty and 
fascinating as those for which this tropical city 
was once famous. But look a little closer, talk 
with the leading citizens,, investigate the growing 
civic institutions, and what do you find? A modern 
up-to-date well-trained elite gradually raising and 
improving a population that, despite its poverty 
and dirt, is eager for change. 

Ex-students dominate, the majority returned 
from the United States, bringing American ways, 
an American accent, an American enthusiasm for 
efficient action. Educated men from Columbia, 
Chicago, Wisconsin Universities, cooperate with 
others from Cambridge and Leipzig, the Paris 
Sorbonne and the schools of Japan. A snappy young 
man from the artillery officers' school turned out 
to have spent nine years at the military academy 
at Turin and to have commanded Italian batteries 
in military maneuvers. The Provincial Governor, 
Wu Te-chen, had been one of those mayors of 
Shanghai whose enlightened administration made 
that city famous. The Mayor, Tseng Yang-fu, an 
ex-mining engineer from the University of Pitts- 
burgh, and a true native of the home province, had 
served his country in a dozen important positions 
with all the energy of an American go-getter. In 
addition to being Mayor of the third largest city 
in China, he was a member of the all powerful 
Executive Committee of the Kuomintang, Vice 


Minister of Railways, and Acting Commissioner 
of Finance for the Province of, Kwangtung. 

Modern minded professors from the Lingnan 
American Missions University, and from the Chi- 
nese Sun Yat-sen National University outside the 
town, discuss the latest sociological theories of 
Pareto and the intricacies of currency management 
in a machine civilization, amid streets where sit in 
their shops perhaps the most ancient and skilled 
artisans of the world. The furniture makers, ivory- 
carvers, inlayers of silver and feathers and mother- 
of pearl, cutters of jade, artistic potters and grass 
weavers still go on as ever. But meanwhile, I felt a 
mentality directing their destinies, a mentality that 
was thinking of speedily industrializing China and 
completing the process of economic emancipation 
from Japan and, to a lesser extent, from the West. 

Plenty of old temples and several superb pagodas 
had survived the aerial bombardments; but the 
modern leaders would rather show you the Sun 
Yat-sen University, the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall 
and Memorial Tower, all dedicated to the man 
whose three-fold program of nationalism, democ- 
racy, and popular livelihood (which can, but need 
not necessarily, be understood as something ap- 
proaching socialism), became the Bible of the 
ruling Kuomintang party, and through it, of mod- 
ern China. None could visit Canton without feeling 
that the seeds of a new national state had taken 
firm root, and that war or no war, the hard-headed 


veteran foreigners of Hong Kong cafes and the 
Japanese military would never again see the an- 
cient, decadent., corrupt, disunited and submissive 
China whose profitable exploitation was their ideal. 
This was the fond hope of the Japanese, and it 
turned out to be an illusion. The wheel of history 
turned; mistreatment galvanized a once proud 
nation; the missionaries began the process; for- 
eigners demonstrated the new machine technique; 
Sun Yat-sen put through the political revolution; 
thousands of returning Chinese students provided 
competent native technicians and the emotional 
power; Chiang Kai-shek became the spearhead. 
Back in the 'twenties, the Western powers began to 
retreat from their imperial positions. Only Japan 
persisted with the result that New China, nour- 
ished on hatred of Japanese bullies, grew up al- 
most overnight. In my travels in China, I met few 
foreigners who thought the Chinese clock could be 
put back. 

The process of national renascence would have 
gone on under any circumstances; the Japanese 
invasion marvelously hastened the process. Here 
again Canton was in the van. Long before the 
occurrence of 1937's little "incident" at the Marco 
Polo Bridge near Peiping, the cry to defy Japan was 
loud in Canton. By 1938 hatred of the northern 
upstart invader had become universal in the city 
and in Kwangtung Province. There may have been 
some exceptions: the Japanese Consul General in 


Hong Kong boasted that he had "sweetened" Can- 
ton palms In the course of a few months to the 
tune of a million yen. But I suspect that this money 
might equally well have been lost by him at the 
fan-tan tables of nearby (Portuguese) Macao. For 
those who accepted the bribes could not have ful- 
filled a promise of defeatism and betrayal. They 
tried once and were themselves tricked and sup- 
pressed. Merchants, the Cantonese were and per- 
haps always will be. So were the citizens of ancient 
Venice. But lack of patriotism was hardly a Vene- 
tian weakness. 

Seat of the Fourth Route Army, located at the 
apex of the Pearl River Delta at the junction of 
the railway to Hankow and the railway to Hong 
Kong, Canton's military importance grew as the 
war progressed. With the entire Chinese coast as 
far south as Amoy virtually in Japanese hands, 
with Japanese warships and airplane carriers lying 
off the delta and occupying the old "pirate islands" 
called the Ladrones, with Hong Kong as the chief 
port of entry for the imported war material for 
China's hit-and-run defense action against inva- 
sion, Canton became chiefly responsible for the 
maritime defense of the entire south. At the time of 
my visit, few believed that the Japanese would defy 
Britain and the world by attempting to seize Hong 
Kong. But they knew that the occupation of Canton 
and the cutting of communications between this 
city and the north would force the Chinese to fall 



back upon the French railway from Indo-China to 
Kunming, in the southwest, and the long interior 
communications with Burma and Soviet Russia. 

That the Japanese early realized this, is clear. 
Hence their virtual blockade of the entire Chinese 
coast with the Pearl River mouth; hence their con- 
tinual talk of occupying Canton; hence the con- 
tinuous series of murderous air raids upon the city 
itself, with the factories and universities as the 
specially preferred targets. Japanese naval fliers 
came over once, twice, four times a day and dropped 
their high explosives upon the defenseless city. The 
casualties soon ran into thousands. A single bomb 
would often kill nearly a hundred people and wipe 
out half a dozen of the flimsy houses built for a 
tropical climate. Once a squadron of Chinese air- 
men, reputed Russians, went over and wiped out 
the Japanese air bases on the Ladrones, but the 
Japanese soon reestablished them and the murder- 
ous bombardment continued day after day. Mayor 
Tseng Yang-fu made a moving appeal to mayors 
of all free cities throughout the world, asking for 
their moral solidarity, lest by their immobility they 
might be hastening the day when their own cities 
would be treated in the same way. There were pro- 
test meetings in Paris and London, and finally the 
American Secretary of State, Cordell Hull, said 
he intended to discourage the further sale of Amer- 
ican military airplanes to Tokyo. It was indeed sad 
for an American to realize that this daily slaughter 


of innocent non-combatants with the single purpose 
of terrorism was largely being accomplished with 
materials furnished by American companies for a 
price. Far better have let the Japanese obtain their 
murder machines from their totalitarian fellow 
aggressors, Germany and Italy, and at least have 
kept American hands clean. For despite the Secre- 
tary's indignation, despite the all but universal 
condemnation, the attacks continued. The Sun Yat- 
sen University, outside the city, the pride of New 
China, had to be brought within the city where at 
least its students and professors could not be singled 
out for special punishment but merely took their 
chances with the other Cantonese. The American 
Lingnan Missions University was struck. For the 
purpose was terrorism, pure and simple. And 
though life in Canton became as much a hell as 
anything the natives of Madrid had to put up with, 
the Cantonese, so far from being terrorized, simply 
stiffened in their determination to rid China once 
and forever from molestation by the contemptible 
Japanese. Under this inhuman "strafing" the brave 
became fanatics, and the tepid determined. 

Strange to say, though the railroad from Hong 
Kong and to Hankow was repeatedly bombed, it 
was as steadily repaired and the steady trickle of 
war material continued to enter China. Stations 
destroyed were rebuilt, trains hit were replaced. 
And traffic went on about as usual, despite informa- 
tion allegedly furnished the Japanese by Italian 


officials In Hong Kong. The trains were, if possible, 
more crowded than in normal times and there was 
much good-humored joking among the passengers 
during the endless delays caused by air alarms. Both 
as means of sowing terror and as air blockade, the 
raids on Canton were a failure. 

Had I not seen the same sort of wild courage in 
Spain, I should not have believed that a population 
could remain so calm under such provocation. 
Within Canton, Dr. K. T. Chu, graduate of Indiana 
Medical School, organized a high-class system of 
first aid in case of air attacks. While the bombs 
were still exploding and before anyone had left the 
few real shelters, bold young people of both sexes 
were on the spot, digging out the victims and doing 
what they could until the flying ambulance squads 
appeared. Often, within an hour, all the movable 
results of a murderous and wanton attack had 
disappeared. Meanwhile, Canton's excellent hos- 
pitals had been put on a war footing and steps were 
being taken to prevent the occurrence and spread 
of any real epidemics. Among other measures, 
anti-cholera injections were being made at the 
rate of three thousand a day with serum prepared 
in Canton according to League of Nations stand- 

The Cantonese were never reputed a martial race, 
but hatred of the Japanese was transforming them. 
Cantonese infantry and aviators did excellent work 
at Shanghai. The Province of Kwangtung was 


maintaining sixty or eighty thousand soldiers at 
the front (there were suggestions from outside that 
this number ought to be materially increased), and 
literally hundreds of thousands of new recruits 
were being trained and equipped. In addition, 
there were provincial militia (called "Able-Bodied 
Youth Units") of both sexes available for local 
emergencies. General Yu Han-mo, the Military 
Governor, was moving heaven and earth to prepare 
to repel a conceivable invasion. His chief-of-staff, 
General Chow, a German-trained soldier with great 
experience (he had been at Shanghai in 1931-32 
with the famous Nineteenth Route Army), seemed 
completely unworried. Certain of the younger offi- 
cers were spoiling for a fight. The watery terrain 
of the delta offered innumerable obstacles while a 
march around the delta was long and arduous. The 
Japs had landed with impunity at Amoy a few 
weeks before, for Amoy is an island at the mercy 
of a powerful fleet. But Swatow or Bias Bay near 
Hong Kong would be another story, General Chow 
thought. The Chinese were confident that they could 
repulse any Japanese offensive unless carried out 
with a vast expeditionary force of eighty to a hun- 
dred and twenty thousand men, with fifty or sixty 
transports, and a vast financial expenditure. With- 
out relinquishing their campaign against Hankow, 
the Japanese presumably lacked the troops for an- 
other offensive, while the Chinese, with their limit- 
less man power, looked forward to the creation of 


a "southern front/ 9 an added opportunity of ex- 
hausting their adversary. 

For this reason, Chinese and foreign experts 
were slow to believe in the imminence of a Japanese 
attack in Southern China. At least, not until the 
issue of the Hankow campaign had been deter- 
mined. In the previous winter, in November, or 
immediately after the fall of Nanking, it could 
have been different. Conceivably, the Japanese 
"missed the boat." 

But the Japanese are a cocky lot, and militarists 
with an omnipotence complex do not always fol- 
low the rules of reason. Therefore an offensive in 
the south was not excluded from Chinese calcula- 
tions. The Governor of Hong Kong, Sir Geoffrey 
Northcote, warned the members of the Hong Kong 
Volunteer Defense Corps that should an attack oc- 
cur, Hong Kong would be lucky if it had six days 
in which to prepare its defenses. The French, whose 
Indo-China army had previously numbered only 
twenty thousand, of which five thousand were 
Frenchmen, appropriated a couple of hundred 
million francs for increasing the force. A British 
passenger airplane was fired on by the Japs in 
February, 1938; French protests against Japanese 
interference with French shipping were becoming 
ever more energetic, though little was said of them 

In the streets of Canton were vividly defiant 
posters; lectures on civic duties in war time were 


being given by men of foreign experience; Every- 
where one met an atmosphere of self-confidence and 
easy defiance of Japan, Everywhere were men (and 
girls) in uniform, giving an impression of readiness 
to meet the enemy. To believe them, you needed 
only to hear them sing the new war songs charac- 
teristic of China's first great effort at military de- 
fense. Strange, atonal melodies carrying the unmis- 
takable message that China had "come back/* 

Note: Japanese forces occupied Canton on Oct. 21, 1958. Ed. 




HANKOW, chief of the Wuhan triplet of cities, 
built about the junction of the Han River 
with the vast Yangtse, is the southern end of a rail- 
road from Peiping. It is essentially a creation of 
the foreigners, and formerly housed five large Con- 
cessions or trading stations. Germany forfeited its 
Concession as a result of the World War; Soviet 
Russia voluntarily renounced its extraterritorial 
privileges throughout China as a matter of doctrine; 
Great Britain sacrificed its Concession (with cer- 
tain reservations) in 1926, and France seemed 
about to do likewise. But the French changed their 
mind and held on to their "sovereign rights" over 
a few acres of a city which they had, after all, done 
not a little to build up. The Japanese Concession 
was abandoned by its owners and taken over by 
the Chinese early in the war. These five Concessions, 
four of which had reverted to China, lie contiguous 
to one another along the Yangtse River. With the 
exception of the Japanese, they form essentially an 
Occidental town, built in the Occidental style, in 
the midst of a vast Chinese city that was until the 
outbreak of the war the center of the Chinese tea- 
growing industry. 


In the center of Hankow the French Concession 
was, when I reached the city and found lodgings 
in the Hotel Wagons-Lits et Terminus, guarded by 
French soldiers, with barbed wire ready to be 
installed at the slightest need. The French had an- 
nounced their intention of protecting their rights 
and property as inflexibly against the Japanese at 
Hankow as they had at Shanghai and Tientsin. On 
account of this inflexibility, while British prestige 
was abysmal and American prestige rather low, 
French prestige was high throughout China. For- 
eigners, whose property happened to lie within 
the French Concession, were thanking their stars 
for the relative protection it afforded against 
Japanese air raids or Japanese seizure. Other for- 
eign interests and most of the business at Han- 
kow was foreign were looking forward hopefully 
to the French to protect their property outside, in 
case of Japanese occupation of the town. And the 
French, to back their verbal resolution, were or- 
ganizing and equipping a foreign (mostly French) 
volunteer corps to assist the bold but numerically 
weak body of regular troops in defending the Con- 
cession. For obvious reasons, all civilians, foreign 
or Chinese, who could find a place to live within 
the French Concession, preferred to do so. 

Along the bank of the Yangtse lay the warships 
of several powers. Gunboats mostly mere "token 
ships" so far as real resistance to the Japanese fleet 
was concerned, but invaluable as a last refuge for 


foreign residents in danger and as a symbol that 
the proprietary powers had not by any means re- 
nounced their rights. 

Further up the Yangtse and across the Han 
River, Hanyang city offered little of interest, save 
swarming Chinese life and an ancient arsenaL 

Not so Wuchang, ancient Chinese agglomeration, 
built around Serpent Hill and surrounded by a 
wall seven miles long. Once the capital of the 
Kingdom of Chu, later that of the Kingdom of 
Wu, famous throughout the country for its "street 
of a thousand shops," Wuchang reached its highest 
interest as the northern point of the railway to 
Canton and Hong Kong (the prolongation south 
of the bridgeless Yangtse of the Peiping-Hartkow 
railway) and the residence of Generalissimo Chiang 
Kai-shek. For although after the fall of Nanking 
the capital had theoretically been moved to Chung- 
king far to the west, China was being not only 
defended but governed from Wuchang. 

But when the foreigners say Hankow they mean 
all three Wu-han cities taken together. Here, after 
the fall of Nanking, one might meet nearly every- 
thing that counted in China. The ancient tea 
center had become the residence of most of the 
personalities of the country. Generalissimo Chiang 
Kai-shek and his wife came and went quickly, 
secretly, effectively, somehow contriving always to 
dodge the Japanese airmen who seemed only too 
well informed of their movements but who always 

Surfaced roads 
Ndvigdble rivers 

100 200 300M. 



arrived just one jump behind. Here, until July, 
1938, were all the Cabinet and the various Minis- 
tries, with their many bureaucrats. Here were the 
other politicians the big shots of the Kuornintang 
with their families, the members of the three Yuans 
that claimed to govern, and of the Military Council 
that seemed actually to share the power with Chiang 
himself. Here were all sorts of subsidiary organiza- 
tions. To Hankow came the foreign businessmen 
with matters of personal profit to attend to. Around 
the Headquarters, grumbling but reasonably well 
cared for, collected the foreign newspaper men, 
who, perhaps properly, could not see why their 
obvious sympathy for China did not constitute more 
of a pass into Chinese confidence. To Hankow came 
those startlingly pretty Chinese women from Shang- 
hai and Peiping, who had fortunately not waited 
for Japanese occupation before clearing out, their 
very presence turning the clean but inconceivably 
dull streets of the Foreign Concessions into some- 
thing gay and exciting. And to Hankow, more or 
less unwillingly, came finally the members of the 
Diplomatic Corps, whose governments insisted on 
their remaining in contact with the rulers of the 
country to which they were accredited. 

A few of them found the war atmosphere exciting 
and the Chinese conflict the most fascinating thing 
in the world. More were frankly peevish. Hankow 
was, they said, a "hole." They loudly resented the 
inadequate housing, the difficulties of obtaining this 


or that "indispensable" article. Personally, I found 
the food on their tables more than adequate, their 
wines of reasonably good quality, their service far 
better than one could expect. But I had not known 
the ease of pre-war China to the foreign "masters 9 * 
who came and went from one Concession to an- 
other, as though all China were but an adjunct of 
these Occidental oases. How those in Hankow en- 
vied the other diplomats, who, like the British and 
the French Ambassadors, preferred the ease and 
relative security of civilized cosmopolitan Shang- 
hai, or the delights of medieval Peiping, to this 
rather austere provincial atmosphere created by a 
people in whose vital struggle most of the diplo- 
mats took surprisingly little part. With the foreign 
diplomats, considerations of China's war for en- 
franchisement were mixed with considerations of 
what outlandish place they might next be asked to 
live in, if and when the Japanese took Hankow. 
Some of their political temperatures went up and 
down sometimes twice in a day, according to the 
military news or to the efficiency of their own 
digestive apparatus. China could hold. China might 
hold, of course. China was at the end of its rope. 
Finished. Virtually, of course. Not yet beaten. Not 
quite beaten. Not necessarily, only probably. Still 
capable of long resistance. In fact, sure to resist. 
Formidable. Magnificent. Invincible. And to the 
novice in China it was just a little bewildering. 
Who said Man is a reasonable animal? 


For this confusion the Chinese themselves were 
partly responsible. Partly just because they re- 
mained Chinese, with ways- that were not Occidental. 
But also because they always claimed too much. 
They announced the recapture of cities when their 
troops were still on the outskirts; they refused to 
admit losses days after all the world knew; they 
stubbornly clung to the notion that unless the 
Chinese told them, the advancing Japanese would 
not really know the names of the places where they 
were. All of which undermined Chinese credit with 
the foreigners of the usual type. 

Not, however, with the foreign military attaches. 
Officers of several countries German military 
advisers, Americans, Englishmen, Frenchmen, were 
sure of two facts: first, that the Chinese had showed 
far more military prowess, far more national 
morale and unity and staying power than anyone 
had given them credit for; second, that the Japanese 
armed forces were a greatly over-estimated quan- 
tity, their strategy deficient, their tactics antiquated, 
their efficiency so low that it was very doubtful if 
Japan really had any serious claim to being con- 
sidered a Great Power. And on the basis of these 
two facts, several very important political adjust- 
ments were likely to take place, the most important 
of which was the recognition by Great Britain, 
France and Russia that Japan was, so long as its 
hands were tied in China, far too weak to threaten 
foreign interests in the Far East. 



The none too modern hydroplane takes off from 
the airport on the Hankow side of the Yangtse, and, 
leaving the great stream well to the south, flies 
westward across a giant bend. Below is the water- 
bespeckled surface of Central China paddy fields 
of tender green rice, streams, pools, canals, ditches, 
lakes innumerable all alive with boats and gleam- 
ing against the red earth. For the feature that most 
distinguishes Central and Southern China from the 
Western world (excepting certain spots like Devon- 
shire and parts of Alabama) is that the soil is not 
black or brown or buff or yellow or dust color, but 
red all shades of red, from a tawny near-orange 
to the deep purply-plum of the hills of middle 

In the plane are mostly Chinese officials, already 
busy preparing to get under full swing at Chung- 
king if the change has to be made. Many of them 
have studied abroad ; nearly all speak some foreign 
language, with English predominating. A year be- 
fore most of them were probably wearing Occiden- 
tal clothes. But with the war and the rise of national- 
ism has come a return to the specifically Chinese. 
To-day a large number, perhaps the majority, of 
these somewhat westernized bureaucrats bear the 
ancient gray or blue robes of the traditional Chinese 
gentleman. The native pilot, smart in uniform and 
white cap, speaks twangy American, and (for which 


I am grateful) American, too, is the way in which 
he lifts his "bus" from the water and places it 
again with a splash on the cocoa-colored reaches of 
the Yangtse at Kiangling and Ichang. Five minutes 
above Ichang the gorges begin. Under a low cloud 
ceiling, the hydro seems to be flying straight at a 
rock wall. As it approaches, a door becomes visible 
and the plane swings back and forth between 
fantastic cliffs, some sheer and smooth, other carved 
into pylons and stalagmites, with rocky walls be- 
hind them, in the crevices of which the patient 
Chinese have scraped out little terraces of earth 
and one sees new wheat rising within protecting 
walls. The plane flies level with the top of the 
cliffs ; fifteen hundred feet below a sampan toils up- 
stream, drawn painfully along one wall by two 
figures staggering forward on a crazy tow-path. 
The gorges widen only to narrow again. They con- 
tinue for a couple of hundred miles. Then the 
rocks subside, cultivated fields appear everywhere, 
and after half an hour or so a large town appears, 
perched well above the river at the end of a long 
bluff. Ichang means "Can Be Prosperous" and I 
sincerely hope it is. But when the plane alights 
again it is beside a city that bears the prophetic 
name of "Happy Again," a name probably given 
thousands of years ago by river travelers grateful 
at having finally surmounted those dreadful river 
gorges and being able to relax again at Chungking. 
Situated on the Yangtse and divided into two 


parts by the Kialing River, the ancient walled city 
of Chungking is a unique mixture of old and new. 
From the river level I was carried up nearly three 
hundred steps in a sedan chair on long bamboo 
poles by two ninety-pound coolies. I might have 
walked; but this was the first opportunity in my life 
to ride into a city in a sedan chair and I did not 
intend to miss it. Entering the gate, one is struck 
by the long row of water carriers, the numerous 
monks, the vivid exotic crowd that swarms through 
the streets, shouting strange cries, chanting various 
sorts of wares, keeping time in those strange yet 
rnarvelously rhythmic coolie barks, thanks to which 
the greatest burdens can be carried along without a 
hitch by slim bodies moving in unison. A few wide 
streets cut motorways through a maze of narrow 

Chungking was, before the war, the trading out- 
let for all Szechwan, and its stores are full of 
native drugs, thick plain-color silks of excellent 
quality, offices for the exporters of wood oil and 
products of Tibet. Several countries maintain con- 
sulates: there is an international club. It had eighty 
foreign members, but no ice even on a suffocating 
June day, when a sort of moist dust clutched at the 
throat and the sweat stood unevaporated on the 

Old and new are combined most discontentedly. 
The setting is the traditional Chinese; the wares in 
the shops are, except for the vast piles of Chinese 


medicines in the native pharmacies, mostly products 
not of the old handicrafts but of the new machine, 
Chinese or foreign. Somehow the city was symbol- 
ized in my eyes by the place where I slept. It was 
in the top floor of the Mei Feng Bank, a modern 
steel and concrete construction, with an electric 
elevator; on the floor of the bedroom was linoleum. 
But scattered throughout the vast chamber were no 
less than five spittoons, and the bed was Chinese in 
type, with the upper sheet sewn to a silken coverlet. 
Yet the conflict between old and new in Chung- 
king was definitely decided by three new factors. 
The first was the war. Chungking became properly 
patriotic. Its streets began to ring night and day to 
the tramping of countless soldiers and recruits. 
There were the famous wall propaganda pictures 
copied from the Russians; there were the cloth 
posters, with inspiring mottoes stretched above the 
streets; there were the myriad pictures of Chiang 
Kai-shek and the few portraits of Sun Yat-sen; 
there were numerous organizations of all sorts help- 
ing to prepare, conduct or bear the war strain. 
There were ten or twenty thousand refugees, each 
with a tale to tell that made Chinese blood boil. 
And there was General Ho Kwo-kwang, the repre- 
sentative of what was called the National Govern- 
ment, to distinguish it from the Provincial Govern- 
ment at Chengtu, still farther to the west. General 
Ho seemed an army in himself: a loyal, quiet- 


voiced, Intelligent soldier, striving patiently to in- 
crease the war effort wherever he could, and at the 
same time to prepare a gigantic economic develop- 
ment of rich Szechwan. 

General Ho's principal task was, however, to re- 
ceive and house several government offices and 
departments and of preparing to receive the rest 
in case of the abandonment of Hankow. 

Already the presence of these government officials 
had overcome the traditional in Chungking. This 
was the second factor. Trained young economists 
from Oxford and Columbia, snappy bureaucrats 
used to the atmosphere of cosmopolitan Shanghai, 
were making a deep, if sometimes unwelcome, im- 
pact upon sleepy Szechwan. 

Their efforts were seconded by the professors 
and students in exile. Chungking had its univer- 
sity a small but impressive center, specializing 
in science and engineering, directed by a German- 
trained Chinese engineer, ten miles outside the 
town on a bluff above the Han River. Then its 
campus was asked to shelter the faculty and twelve 
hundred students of the crack Central University 
of Nanking, bombed out of existence by the Japa- 
nese last November. Seven other educational insti- 
tutions were grouped around Chungking: obviously 
a factor of this type in a town of half a million must 
become irresistible, despite the grumblings of the 
old timers. 



Chengtu, fantastic Chengtu, to one Foreign Devil 
you will remain unforgettable, though he stayed 
but a few days within your nine miles of forty-foot 
walls ! For you alone are the fabled China of Marco 
Polo. Where else do the inhabitants use their 
ancient defenses for a public promenade on warm 
summer nights? From where else in China but your 
citadel can one occasionally see the snow-clad 
giants of the Tibetan Himalaya, fifty or a hundred 
miles distant across the "Red Plain"? 

Here is a province, the biggest in China proper, 
almost completely separated from the rest of the 
country by a mountain barrier a province which 
looks as much west to Tibet and north to Mongolia 
as eastward to the sea. Here around this ancient 
capital of the one-time Kingdom of Shoo, lies a 
land unique in China that, despite its approxi- 
mately sixty million population (some claim 
seventy) on a territory smaller than France, has 
never really known famine. For the fertile Red 
Plain produces two crops of cereals or four of 
vegetables every year, thanks to a marvelous sys- 
tem of irrigation that was set up by China's greatest 
hydraulic engineer, Li Ping, who lived, well, some- 
thing over two thousand years ago. Outside the 
Red Plain, in the triangle between the "Three 
Cities," are the salt domes, famous in a country 
where salt is still an article to be taxed, which may 


become an oil Golconda In some fairly near future. 
The mountains elsewhere are loaded with mineral 
wealth, including gold, awaiting the day when com- 
munications will make exploitation feasible. The 
forests toward the Himalaya foothills swarm with 
marvelous birds and almost equally marvelous 
animals tigers and the lonely panda, that bamboo- 
eating pied brown and white sub-bear, one of 
which I saw in captivity muzzling into a hole it had 
dug for itself. Here in Szechwan the villages are 
often larger than well-known towns in other parts 
of the country. On its way from Chungking to 
Chengtu, the "paved" highway, whose two hun- 
dred and sixty miles can be driven by a bold chauf- 
feur in not over two days, crosses the "Four Rivers" 
(the words Sze Chwan mean "Four Rivers"), and 
touches eight walled cities the one more medieval 
than the other. 

As for Chengtu itself, it is a great city of six or 
seven hundred thousand people, with giant gates. 
Here, in famous Great Eastern Street, are shops 
selling superb silks and satins legendary through- 
out China, and marvelously gay embroideries made 
in shop fronts open to the world by weak-eyed little 
boys of ten; coppersmiths galore; curio dealers 
dispensing old jade carvings, ancient bronze mir- 
rors and rare Tibetan jewelry for a song, since, as I 
was told, "nobody wants such old trash." Here are 
tiny Taoist temples right on the streets like shops, 
before one of which I saw a fine yellow paper 


dragon, ten feet long, newly put together for a 
coming celebration; here is a series of beautiful 
ancient constructions of varying style that now lead 
into Szechwan University; here the city gates must 
be closed at night to keep out bandits, and houses 
hide behind venerable walls; here nearly every- 
body drinks incredibly heady wine distilled from 
orange juice and any number of people poison 
themselves with 'opium. Yet, good or bad, Chengtu 
seems Old China and the machine age is still felt 
remotely as a knock on his door to an opium 
broker a call to reality, perhaps ultimately ir- 
resistible but which he can still ignore. Chengtu! 

Yet I must not give a false impression. Exter- 
nally this city is anything but an isolated center of 
obscurantism. My hotel, the Sa Li Wen, not far 
from the park, had been built comfortably only 
twenty or thirty years ago; it possessed a couple of 
bathrooms, though no real toilets, with running 
water; there was a mosquito net over my bed and 
the Number One Boy spoke considerable English 
and served tomato soup out of a can opened less 
than three weeks before. 

The city housed eleven foreign missions and two 
Bible societies. The Y.M.C.A. building seemed 
admirably administered and full of modern-appear- 
ing young men. There were many returned students 
from abroad. The Missionary West Union Uni- 
versity had an art museum with Tibetan objects 
rivaling those in the British Museum or the Louvre. 


The National Chinese University was captained by 
two scholars who were almost contemporaries of 
the writer at the University of Michigan. There 
were new hospitals: I watched a soccer football 
match that drew several hundred spectators, and 
membership in the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides 
was said to be obligatory for school children. 
There were at least ten daily newspapers and a 
feminist weekly published by pretty Chu Zho-hwa, 
a most intelligent girl, trained in Japan. A modern 
brewery provided a very fair imitation Pilsner beer 
as an alternative to orange wine. 

What was more, those rambling palaces, with 
their dozens of courtyards opening one out of the 
other, housed two very modern "Marshals," Yang 
Chi-yi, the Civil Governor, and Ten Chi-ho, the 
head of military affairs, who headed a thing called 
the Pacification Commission of Szechwan and 
Sikiang Provinces. In addition to captaining 
Szechwan's efforts in keeping eight divisions in the 
field against the Japanese, this administration had 
drawn a very impressive program for the eco- 
nomic development of the province, on a scale that 
is absolutely astounding. There were a couple of 
agricultural and livestock-breeding experimental 
stations of a really surprising efficiency. Who could 
insinuate that Chengtu was anything but modern? 
Even opium culture, the curse of Western China, 
had been severely restricted, one was told, and 
smoking was going out of fashion. 


Yet how square all this modernity with the per- 
manence of certain ancient institutions and abuses? 

Opium culture might have been greatly re- 
stricted, but the traveler could see the poppy fields 
along the road but a few miles outside the city 
gates. Why was it that so many of the city shops 
were closed in the morning and only open after 
lunch? Could it be that their owners, having smoked 
until very late, only at lunch time revived enough 
to smoke those other few pipes, thanks to which 
they recovered sufficient lucidity to transact the 
day's business? Why was it that the rickshaw boys 
sometimes stood dazed before a squawking motor- 
car, without moving, or, upon hearing an address, 
darted off in exactly the opposite direction? For- 
eigners resident in Szechwan declared that al- 
though there was some improvement among the 
young, opium smoking was the chief occupation of 
about half the town's adults over thirty years of 
age and that a very large share of the provincial 
revenues came from the opium tax. 

In other ways, too, what these foreigners re- 
ported was very interesting. What was the good of 
modern hospitals if contagious cases were hardly 
ever isolated, typhoid and influenza were endemic 
and there prevailed an epidemic of scarlet fever, 
"brought to the province by these beastly modern 
airplanes," as one Chinese physician, trained 
abroad, somewhat unscientifically remarked? 

The streets of Chengtu are wide, paved and rea- 


sonably clean. But at ten o'clock each evening the 
gates to the great forty-foot wall were firmly shut 
and none could have them opened by the guards 
without a special pass. The reasons? Just bandits. 
Who were the bandits? Either peasants, with a long- 
ing for higher things, or soldiers garrisoned nearby 
who might be tempted to profit by the darkness to 
enter and pillage a few insufficiently protected 
houses. A foreign diplomat living in a compound 
outside the north gate turned loose in his garden 
every evening some fifteen savage police dogs to 
frighten robbers. Visitors awaited within closed 
cars until the "dog coolies" chained them up. Be- 
sides, it was explained, if the city gates were not 
closed at night, part of the garrison within the walls 
might decide to desert. Foreigners and Chinese 
with money traveling around Chengtu found it 
convenient to go with an armed escort (just as they 
did in the neighboring province of Yunnan), and 
a friendly Russian chauffeur proudly showed me 
his fully loaded Colt automatic, without which, he 
said, he never dared to go abroad after dark. Some 
time before my arrival, it was said in town, there 
had been an attempt upon the life of a missionary 
bishop by a Chinese fanatic, who wanted to kill 
him with a knife "because he was a foreigner." 
A curious result of all the popular education and 
enlightenment, but natural if one accepted the 
thesis that Szechwan was fundamentally medieval. 
Szechwan was maintaining those eight divisions 


at the front all right, but many more than eight were 
garrisoned throughout the province. What were 
they doing here so many hundreds of miles from 
the fighting line? Could it be that without them the 
present administration could not maintain itself? 

After the collapse of the Manchu Empire in 
1911, this province became the bone of contention 
of three cliques: the Siuting, the Chengtu and the 
Chungking. Chungking won, and its leader, 
"Marshal" Liu Wan-hwei, remained boss until he 
was beaten by the communists and then ousted with 
violence by his own nephew, "Marshal 9 * Liu Siang, 
who exploited his conquest until the Japanese inva- 
sion. Marshal Liu had snapped his fingers at fara- 
way Chiang Kai-shek in Nanking, but he knew the 
handwriting on the wall and immediately threw 
in his lot with the Chinese national armies. In the 
autumn of 1917 he obligingly died. The National 
Government, with the consent of the province, sent 
the Pacification Commission of Szechwan and 
Sikiang Provinces with the two modern-minded 
marshals. But the administration in Chengtu re- 
mained in the hands of the henchmen of dead 
Marshal Liu and some said that the National Gov- 
ernment governed here on condition of abstention 
from ruling. 

Many foreigners believed that the real Szechwan 
rulers were at heart autonomists, if not separatists; 
that they were far more Szechwanese than Chinese 
in feeling, and determined to continue the age-old 


exploitation of the poor farmers by usury and taxa- 
tion. For dear Old China can teach the most liberal 
modern spenders a trick or two; in Szechwan the 
taxes had already been collected for perhaps fifty 
years in advance, men said. New China might mod- 
ify all this. . . . 

The elements of New China were here, all right 
the missionaries, the returned students, the 
Kuomintang, the reformers and mass education 
movement and Y.M.C.A. But one must perhaps 
come to Chengtu to realize just how deep is the 
dislike of traditional China for all these new- 
fangled innovations. One can understand the anger 
of the opium fiends under the threat of being de- 
prived of their reason for existence. One can com- 
prehend the resentment of any local political 
machine against efforts at reform or transfer of 
authority to a national leader so competent and 
vigorous as Chiang Kai-shek. Even the dislike of 
the traditionally educated Chinese for the mission- 
aries becomes clear if you imagine the reaction of 
Occidental intelligentsia to Chinese missionaries 
that came to teach such outlandish habits as the 
binding of girls' feet and the multiplication of the 
spittoon. But why do the old scholars so dislike the 
returned students? Clearly for much the same rea- 
son as the nationalist everywhere dislikes the ex- 
patriate. The traditionally educated Chinese is a 
conceited fellow. Without having much understand- 
ing of patriotism as we know it, he is, nonetheless, 


amazingly sure of himself, proud of his people's 
and of his personal culture. He hates the returned 
students from abroad because they are to him un- 
educated and traitors to Chinese traditions. He be- 
lieves them uneducated because they have not mas- 
tered the language which remains the pride of the 
Mandarin; they know only a few thousand char- 
acters; they do not sing their speech in the proper 
manner of the ancestors, but bark it out almost like 
foreigners. And, above all, they have repudiated 
all that was ancient China: its science, medicine, 
engineering, architecture, manufacturing processes, 
art, in favor of crudely efficient foreign innovations. 
Left to the returned students, China, as the tradi- 
tionalists understand and love it, would cease to 
be China, and Chengtu would no longer be Cathay. 


Yunnan is the remotest province of China proper 
and borders on Burma, Tibet and French Indo- 
China. It is mountainous, relatively scarcely inhab- 
ited, and, in spite of its perfect climate, in parts 
almost unexplored even by the Chinese. In the time 
of the great Ming Dynasty, China courtiers consid- 
ered banishment to the frontiers of Yunnan almost 
the worst thing that could befall them. A fairly 
large section of the population are Mohammedan in 
faith and an even larger section are not true Chi- 
nese at all, but older races who bear the quaint 
names of Lolos, Miaos, Shans, Wahs, as well as 


other "shy peoples" one has to go a long way off 
the beaten track to hear of. From China, Yunnan 
Province was until recently almost as inaccessible 
as Szechwan and it is small wonder that among the 
twelve million inhabitants local feeling was stronger 
than national. 

Recent history turned Yunnan into one of the 
most important sections of the country, destined 
perhaps to play an absolutely decisive role in com- 
ing events. It was through Yunnan that the ancient 
trail along which the Chinese have from forgotten 
times kept in touch with India climbed over moun- 
tains and across rivers. It was from Hanoi, in Indo- 
China, that the French, a few decades ago, pushed 
a narrow-gauge, single-track railway and a highway 
right across their territory and then three thousand 
miles farther through most difficult country to 
Kunming, the capital of the province. Yunnan thus 
became a sort of back double-door to China. Then 
with all the front doors, except Hong Kong, block- 
aded by the Japanese navy, with the possibility of 
Hong Kong being severed from China proper even 
more threatening, with the Chinese army retiring 
even farther into the west, the facts of the "French 
Railway" (possibly extended north into Szechwan), 
and the Burma road (rapidly being modernized for 
motor traffic), made of Yunnan one of the vital 
factors of the present Far Eastern political situa- 

Still another thing contributed to push Yunnan 


to the front: the fact that the province contains one 
of the very few tin fields of the world, and the only 
one which escaped control by the monopolistic 
International Tin Committee. The tin production of 
Yunnan could be quadrupled. The French Railway 
cuts the tin district and the outlet for the tin mines 
seems assured under all circumstances. Yunnan, 
therefore, became the scene of a very pretty little 
economic intrigue of the true imperialistic type. 
The center, naturally, was the capital, Kunming. 

Beautiful, well-favored city, six thousand five 
hundred feet above sea level, with a climate that out- 
does California, close enough to its lake to enjoy the 
beauty, far away enough to avoid most of the mos- 
quitoes, with its lovely West Mountain and its 
temples out in front, Kunming is as charming a 
place to forget the world in as one could well im- 
agine. Many of the foreign colony found it too 
much for them: they imitated the easy-going popu- 
lation in addiction to opium. A person who takes 
up opium smoking in New York or Paris or London 
is playing with fire in a literal sense, for opium 
smoking destroys not so much the body as the char- 
acter. But a foreigner who smokes in China, thereby 
adding foreign prestige to the vice that is responsi- 
ble for at least half of the degradation of China, is 
committing an historical crime. He is like a man 
who consents to drink with a dipsomaniac. 

The fascination of the city, as of Chungking, lies 
in a curious combination of opposites. From the 


Chinese side Kunming represents an ancient and 
distinctly backward sort of Chinese life. But, on the 
other hand, this backward sort of Chinese can, if he 
wishes, be in daily contact with modern French 
civilization. The French Government supports a 
school and a hospital almost gratuitously here. 
There are a modern power plant, electric lights, a 
mint and an arsenal. There are numerous predomi- 
nantly French businessmen, including the agents of 
armament firms; French is the predominant foreign 
language of the province. 

This strange marriage of the ancient Chinese and 
the modern Gallic is evident in the Government 
Building a luxurious palace, with rooms ceiled 
with real gold leaf, with European furniture and 
European style. It was nowhere better shown than 
at a dinner given by the Governor of the Province, 
General Long-yun. Now, the writer attended many 
dinners as the guest of important Chinese officials : 
at Canton, at Hankow, at Chungking, at Chengtu. 
At practically none was there the slightest attempt 
at the Occidental. Those present wore Chinese robes 
or informal European clothes, as they saw fit, sat 
about round tables and served themselves from com- 
mon dishes. The food was served in Chinese fashion, 
several dishes at a time constituting a course, each 
course being marked by the presentation of hot 
moist towels to wipe the lips and take the place of 
napkins. On January 24, 1938, there were, per- 
haps for the first time in several thousand years, no 


incense sticks or candy offered in Chinese homes to 
the Kitchen God, so that he should bring a favor- 
able tale to the God of Heaven concerning his wor- 
shipers on earth. Now worshipers of good food 
the Chinese were and remain, but the all-dominant 
fact of war penury left them nothing to waste. 
Thanks to wartime restrictions, the number of 
dishes was generally kept down to thirty or forty. 
The only drink was rice wine, consumed hot in 
small cups (or in Szechwan, orange juice wine), 
the number of which could and sometimes did rise 
to forty, fifty and even more, for the Chinese pos- 
sess a number of fascinating table games to encour- 
age competition in drinking. At the end of the meal 
appeared the only dish of rice, followed by tea. 

In Governor Long-yun's gay palace at Kunming 
everything was dijfferent. The guests sat at a long 
table, Occidental fashion. They had napkins from 
the beginning. The drink was water and French wine 
of good quality. The menu was restricted to a 
scanty ten items, served one after the other, which 
I reproduce as they were scribbled in English for 
me on the back of a menu card by a Chinese friend : 

Bird's Nest and Egg Soup 

Fried Rolled Fish 

Roast Gitsong (a kind of delicious mushrooms) 

Chicken Coined (cut into small pieces) 

Pigeon Without Bones 

Roast Second (Suckling?) Pig 

Peace (In Pieces?) Cake 

French Fruits 


Ice Cream 
Coffee or Tea. 

It was into this relatively happy marriage of 
Paris (or Hanoi) and Yunnan that the Japanese in- 
vasion of China came like a tempest with absolutely 
unpredictable consequences. 

Yunnan Province cooperated militarily with 
Chiang Kai-shek in his wars against the Kwangsi 
generals who became the Generalissimo's closest 
helpers. But Yunnan had been essentially self- 
governing. Although it had heeded Chiang's request 
to cut down the opium production and to raise the 
price of opium by government monopoly, it had 
also maintained its own Foreign Office and cur- 
rency. Suddenly it was asked to cooperate in the 
defense of China. Yunnan accepted as a matter of 

The army it first sent to "China/* meaning the 
front, the Sixtieth, under General Lu Han, was not 
very large: three divisions only with nine supple- 
mentary regiments. Preparations were, however, 
made for training two hundred thousand men and 
sending out a "New Army" of three more divisions. 
The first army was equipped by the Central Gov- 
ernment. The reinforcements, if I understood cor- 
rectly, were being entirely equipped in Yunnan it- 
self by the French, who suddenly decided that it 
was to their advantage to see that the province con- 
tiguous to French Indo-China should not fall into 


the hands of the Japanese* The Yunnan troops 
fought well. 

After the fall of Nanking, as the Japanese came 
closer to Hankow, numerous government institu- 
tions, factories, offices, universities, academies, and 
military departments began to be transferred to 
Yunnan by order of the Generalissimo. 

Kunming was making no pretense at social or 
political modernity, but its inhabitants were pa- 
triotic, particularly the younger ones and the 
Kuomintang group. Nowhere could one hear more 
fiery speeches, more winged words of defiance di- 
rected against the Japanese; nowhere were the pro- 
fessions of loyalty to Chiang Kai-shek louder. But 
the Yunnan people were patriotic not in an Occi- 
dental but in a Chinese way. At bottom China re- 
mains a nation of Mandarins, whose greatest re- 
spect is for the word and whose approach to life is 
literary. To such a people the most convincing argu- 
ments are found not in the insignificant realm of 
deeds but in the immortal wisdom preserved in 
ancient words. As a clinching argument that China 
was bound to win the present war, an educated gen- 
tleman in Kunming offered for my consideration 
the following proverbs which he asked me to submit 
to the world as a convincing argument in favor of 
China's ultimate victory. According to my promise 
I give them just as he copied them out for me in 
English in his own excellent hand: 

"He is pointed at by thousands of people because 


of the fault he committed and he will die without 
illness." Note: This shows Japan is hated by the 
world because of her cruel invasion of China. 

"One who does more \many?~\ unrighteous 
things will kill himself." Note: This also shows the 
example of Japan. 

"One who has got morality will get more help 
and one who has lost morality will get less help.* 9 
Note: This shows why China has got help from the 
peoples of friendly nations. 

"One word of righteousness is heavier than nine 
incense pots." (The incense pot in the Chinese tem- 
ple is made of brass or stone which is very heavy 
and serves as a measurement of the weight a man 
can carry.) Note: This shows propaganda by writ- 
ing and speaking to the world is very important and 

Really, Mr. Mowrer, could anything be further 
removed from hard facts as exemplified in the 
successes of the realistic nations like Germany, 
Italy and Japan? A most unmodern, fantastic, truly 
pitiful example of the clinging to an outward belief 
in a moral basis for the world! 

Quite so, dear reader. The Chinese show a most 
deplorable unwillingness to yield to their ancient 
habits of thought, even though it is being proven 
each day that what succeeds on this earth is the 
ethics of the jungle. Or doesn't it succeed? 



HISTORICAL movements sometimes produce 
leaders, but leaders have it in their power 
to make or mar the finest movements. History is 
thus neither the account of the sociological and 
economic development of masses, nor of the achieve- 
ments of heroes. For it is both. A military genius 
like Hannibal fails without the support of a great 
people, while the Celtic tribes succumbed to Rome 
for lack of adequate leadership. China, in the early 
Twentieth Century, brought forth several quite ex- 
traordinary leaders. The amazing thing is that they 
were all members of one family. Three of them mar- 
ried into it, the other four were born there. Fifty 
or a hundred years after their deaths it may be pos- 
sible to rank the members according to ability. To 
contemporaries, they all seemed able, though in 
different ways. 

Sun Yat-sen, the Mazzini or the Jefferson of 
Modern China, founded the Chinese Republic in 
1911, and gave it a doctrine, the "Three Princi- 
ples," whose realization was to be the task of a 
single governing party, the Tungmenhui, which 
turned into the Kuomintang. Sun was a democrat 
with collectivist leanings. But incidentally, he in- 



spired the one-party, totalitarian State of a type 
which was first installed by the Russian Bolsheviks 
and after them by those fascist plagiarists, Musso- 
lini and Hitler. Sun Yat-sen married Miss Soong 
Ching-ling, the second daughter of a hammock 
peddler who drifted to the United States from 
Hainan Island in the extreme south of China, and 
there joined the Fifth Street Methodist Episcopal 
Church South, of Wilmington, North Carolina, 
adding at baptism the names of a benefactor, 
Charles Jones, to his own family name of Soong. 
Later, he returned to China, married a Miss Ni, 
and helped found the Chinese Y.M.C.A. 

One of Sun's disciples, a young officer who be- 
came his private secretary and remained with him 
until he died in 1923, was called Chiang Kai-shek 
and became the George Washington of modern 
China. Active in the Chinese revolutions of 1911 
and 1913; with, and then against, the communists; 
associate of the Russian, Borodin, and later of the 
worst "Tammany" elements who controlled the 
decadent Kuomintang of the late 'twenties; official 
founder of the Puritan New Life Movement in- 
tended to regenerate China; convert, like Charles 
Jones Soong, to the Methodist Episcopal Church: 
the soldier who knew no foreign countries but Ja- 
pan and Soviet Russia proceeded to take charge of 
China from about 1927 on, and ultimately to lead 
the country in its great war of liberation and de- 
fense against Japanese aggression. On December 


1, 1927, he married Soong Mei-ling, youngest 
daughter of the hammock peddler of Wilmington, 
North Carolina, and during all the eventful years 
that followed she remained his closest and perhaps 
most inspiring helper. 

Up in Shansi there lived a merchant banker called 
H. H. Kung. He owned a string of tiny banks stretch- 
ing right across Northern China from Manchuria 
to Mongolia, and some medicine shops in South 
China as well. From this, he branched out into all 
sorts of other business. Though a staunch Christian 
speaking beautiful English, as a reputed lineal 
descendant of Confucius ("Master Kung" in Chi- 
nese) it was, perhaps, only natural that he should 
represent the more traditionally Chinese tendency 
in the nation struggling for rehabilitation. Oddly 
enough, his wife was Soong Ai-ling, eldest daughter 
of incredible Mr. Charles Jones Soong. Thanks to 
his wife's relations, Dr. Kung became Finance Min- 
ister and Prime Minister of China. 

There were not only marriageable daughters in 
the Soong family. There were three sons. Like their 
father and their sisters, they studied in the United 
States and remained true to Methodism, the religion 
their father embraced in Wilmington, North Caro- 
lina. The two younger boys, T. A. and T. L., were 
intelligent. The oldest son, T. V., was remarkable. 
For he became one of China's richest bankers, a 
sound economist and competent financial adminis- 
trator on Western lines, the personal friend of an 


entire group of notable people abroad, the cham- 
pion of Occidentalism, a leader of Chinese youth 
in opposition to the Japanese, the strongest sup- 
porter and occasional opponent of Generalissimo 
Chiang Kai-shek. T. V., as every one called him, 
became legendary; his mysterious comings and 
goings, his houses in several cities, his Bank of 
Canton, his missions, the many attempts upon his 
life, these were all whispered and commented upon, 
praised or attacked from one end of the country to 
another. He was not revered; he was admired or 
hated. Was he not the author of the 1931 plan for 
the revival of China through a corps of League of 
Nations experts? Did not the foreign businessmen 
trust him beyond his Chinese fellows? Had he not 
at the same time excellent relations with Soviet 
Russia, along with his sister Madame Sun Yat-sen, 
and was he not China's link with such foreign bodies 
as the International Peace Campaign of Lord Rob- 
ert Cecil? But loved or hated, criticized or admired, 
T. V. remained a huge figure and, after the Gener- 
alissimo, the most powerful personality in China. 

Such then were the members of the amazing fam- 
ily of Soong, called upon by destiny to provide in 
its greatest crisis a nation of over four hundred 
millions with the leadership that could either make 
or break the country. Except dead Sun Yat-sen, I 
met them all. 

It was at the Central Army headquarters at 
Wuchang, across the Yangtse River from Hankow, 


that I saw Chiang Kai-shek. The Generalissimo was 
kind enough to send a launch to take me the mile 
and a half across the turgid yellow water, and a 
waiting car whisked me in a few minutes into the 
courtyard of a great building. There were sentries 
about but no wealth of soldiery. Chiang Kai-shek 
dispensed with ceremony despite his semi-dictato- 
rial position in a country in which the tradition of 
ceremony is deeply rooted. Alone among the mem- 
bers of what critics call sarcastically the "Soong 
Dynasty/' the Generalissimo used an interpreter, 
in this case Hollington Tong, Vice-Minister of Pub- 
licity, faithful follower of the Soong family and 
author of the official biography of Chiang Kai-shek. 

There was little conversation. I explained my 
visit to China and posed my questions. The Gener- 
alissimo accompanied the translation of my re- 
marks with a series of understanding grunts and 
answered in half a dozen words. During the trans- 
lation, I studied that face and figure. 

Most Chinese are quiet in manner and eschew 
facial expression. Chiang Kai-shek was inscrutable, 
a habit doubtless acquired in the labyrinth of plot 
and counterplot that used to constitute Chinese 
politics. No poker player ever kept a closer mask. 
His head was closely shaved on the Russian or 
German model, accentuating his hollow temples. 
His thin lips barely moved as he uttered his polite 
grunts. As a conversation, the interview was not a 
great success. He was obviously used to receiving 


foreign newspaper men; used and resigned and 
anything but communicative. 

Yet I could not imagine that face trusting too 
much to any human being, although it obviously 
welcomed approval. A paradoxical character, so I 
judged. Limitlessly ambitious, yet not precisely 
self-seeking. Really caring for principles, really be- 
lieving that he was leading China through the "pe- 
riod of tutelage" prescribed by Sun Yat-sen toward 
"democracy," while at the same time furthering 
and organizing private and secret societies that 
foreigners were bound to call fascist in character. 
Watching him, I understood the subtle politician 
who stood by and watched the heroic Nineteenth 
Route Army massacred by the Japanese at Shang- 
hai in 1932 rather than engage prematurely in a 
death struggle with Japan, yet who, less than two 
years later, was giving secret lectures to the Officers' 
Training Corps at Kuling, on the urgency and man- 
ner of preparing for the coming war with arrogant 
Nippon. Endlessly proud, willing to die rather than 
submit to the conditions of his 1936 kidnapers, 
yet voluntarily fulfilling their demands when re- 
leased and scrupulously observing the unwritten 
pact with his former communist enemies. Doubtless 
as "boundlessly vindictive" as his opponents said, 
perhaps cruel, yet capable of the greatest gener- 
osity and kindness. Utterly patriotic, self sacrific- 
ing, immediately ready to die for China, yet some- 
how unable to divorce China's cause from his own 


eminence. Insensitive to popular suffering, socially 
obtuse, despite the New Life Movement with its 
emphasis on toothbrushes for which he accepted the 
responsibility. Above all, a leader, simple in intel- 
lect, subtle in intuition, swift in action beyond his 
fellow Chinese, therefore their proper choice and 
their idol at a time of crisis. However devious and 
ultra-Oriental, however oblivious to foreign ex- 
perts' advice, this man seemed to follow an instinct 
of his own that might, in last analysis, prove more 
effective in dealing with the human material at his 
disposal than any amount of "military science." I 
left Wuchang with confidence in Chiang Kai-shek's 

What a contrast with Soong Mei-ling, known to 
foreigners in Hankow simply as "Madame"! 

The wife of the Generalissimo received me in the 
reception rooms of the Central Bank of China at 
Hankow. She had just come from Wuchang; she 
was going to address a meeting of feminist leaders 
on the new tasks of Chinese womanhood during the 
war. Like many Chinese women, though to an even 
higher degree, she had, in her simple Chinese gown, 
the gift of permanent elegance slim in appear- 
ance, brisk in manner and speech. Sex appeal. Quick 
feminine intelligence a little eclipsed at moments 
by the feeling she must live up to her role as the 
wife of the hero. 

She told me of China's struggle in a simple and 
moving way. She could not, she explained, accept 


any of the numerous invitations to return to the 
United States where she had studied, for the calls 
upon her would prove too much for her health. 
Besides, she had far more than she could do within 
China. Just think, in another year, thanks to the 
war and the Japanese naval blockade, the Chinese 
women would have nothing fit to put on their backs! 
Shantung, the great silk-producing province, prac- 
tically all of the cotton-growing and textile-manu- 
facturing regions, were overrun by the enemy. 
Therefore, she was obtaining hand looms for refu- 
gee women on which to weave cotton stuffs of the 
simplest kind. Imagine a whole society of Chinese 
women clad in homespun! 

Japan, she said, was anxious to prevent the de- 
velopment of Chinese industry, for Chinese labor 
was even cheaper than Japanese. Already cheap 
articles manufactured for Japanese in China had 
been sold abroad under the label, Made in Japan. 
She and her friends were trying to substitute China- 
made cheap toys on the world markets for those 
Japan used to export. Perhaps something of the 
same kind could be done with the remaining silk. 

Her eyes flashed as she referred to the Japanese 
treatment of Chinese civilians, especially the 
women, and the Japanese manufacture and sale of 
narcotics to the Chinese and even to Americans. 

Then the usual question: since Americans were 
friendly to China, why did they persist in selling to 
Japan airplanes, bombs and war material for mur- 


dering the Chinese population? a question doubly 
embarrassing coming from so attractive a woman. I 
did not know the answer, unless it was that Ameri- 
can isolationists utterly lacked imagination while 
some American pacifists were quite incalculably 
pro-Japanese and pro-German. The Administra- 
tion. . . . 

But she knew all about that and expressed her 
deep appreciation of what President Roosevelt was 
"saying" in defense of China. If only he would 
"do" something. China lacked credit even to pur- 
chase food for civilians. 

Sometimes she lapsed for a phrase or two into 
stereotyped propaganda: China was fighting the 
battle of democracy everywhere; if China were 
beaten, the rest of the world, even America, would 
pay a bloody price; and the like. I agreed with her 
fully but was sorry she did not give me credit for 
understanding as much. Yet for the most part, she 
spoke as an intelligent, even witty woman. But her 
time was fearfully taken up and there was that 
speech to be made. . . . 

While we were talking, her eldest sister, Madame 
Kung, the wife of the Prime Minister, came into the 

Less strikingly pretty than her youngest sister, 
Soong Ai-ling was equally impressive. There was 
about her anything but tall figure something so 
authoritative, so personally powerful, so penetrat- 
ingly keen, that one would have been struck with 


her anywhere. Here was authority, conscious of it- 
self, conscious of power, but withal wonderfully 
good-natured, resourceful, helpful in need. Madame 
Kung avoided any attempts at questioning: she 
spoke of her very agreeable trip to Europe a few 
years before, of our mutual acquaintances to whom 
she sent her regards, and of whom she seemed to 
preserve memories of unusual intensity. I suspected 
a mind that forgot nothing and forgave little, but 
that knew how to repay affection richly. I should 
have liked to see more of her. 

With her husband, the Prime Minister, I was 
more fortunate. Dr. Kung received me in those 
same rooms of the Central Bank of China, gave me 
an interview, served tea with delicious persimmon 
cakes, and talked long and fluently in English about 
Chinese finances. He was optimistic: he did not 
announce or predict the new drop in the value of 
the Chinese dollar that occurred a few weeks later. 
... I did not ask him if it was true that he did not 
see eye to eye in financial matters with his brother- 
in-law, T. V. Soong, whom he apparently consid- 
ered something of a radical. He ate nothing, but his 
conversation and his manner were vigorous and 
he personally revised the text of the interview I 
later submitted. As I wrote at the time, in the rather 
plump elegance of his gray silken robe, he looked 
the merchant prince he was or some ancient Chi- 
nese philosopher, and I found it easy to accept the 
story that the man before me descended directlj 


from the great Confucius, a generally accepted be- 
lief that added greatly to his prestige among the 
Chinese. But I could not accept the story reported 
to me by several persons that his more important 
thinking was done for him by Madame Kung. Dr. 
Kung's ideas were far too incisive to be the product 
of anyone's brain but his own; not even of his 
wife, the gifted Ai4ing. As an assistant, I could 
imagine her, perhaps as an instigator and coun- 
selor. What women elsewhere would not try to assist 
and influence their husbands in such a position at a 
moment of such national crisis? A well-known 
China expert wrote of the three Soong girls that 
they were of a "retiring disposition" in the sense 
that they "preferred to act through their husbands 
when they could." For whatever the future of the 
country, the China of Chiang Kai-shek and the 
Soongs was undergoing its trial by fire and the 
fortunes of the entire family were at stake* 

Madame Chiang Kai-shek had as permanent as- 
sistant and adviser W. H. Donald, the well-known 
Australian expert on China, in whose company I 
was privileged to spend one of the most intellectu- 
ally profitable and agreeable days of my life. 

Madame Sun Yat-sen habitually mixed up in all 
sorts of movements and continually turned out 
political writings. Her I met in Hong Kong, in a 
flat high up on the Peak overlooking the harbor. 
After a brief argument with a servant at the door 
who apparently had not been informed of my com- 


ing and who was suspicious of visitors, I was shown 
into a bare room furnished in the Occidental fash- 
ion with a small desk, a small table and a couple 
of chairs. A little surprised, for I had been an- 
nounced by her famous brother, T. V. Soong him- 
self, I waited. 

Soong Ching-ling, the widow of China's great 
founder, combined the charm of her sister Mei-ling 
and the determination of her other sister Ai-ling. In 
addition, on that day she showed signs of political 

She served me something to drink but took noth- 
ing herself, with the air of one who had no time for 
frivolities. She talked with quiet passion of the 
principles of her late husband, dead fifteen years 
but as alive in her breast as ever. She told me of her 
numerous activities. Alone among the three Soong 
sisters she seemed more European than American. 
She snorted at mention of the New Life Movement. 
Knowing of her dissension with Chiang Kai-shek, I 
asked no further questions on that subject. For hers 
was a passionately intolerant faith. I did not then 
know that she was a prominent member of the 
China Defense League, which was providing as- 
sistance to the former communist Eighth Route 
Army in Northern Shensi. She asked me questions 
concerning Soviet Russia, and my inability to ap- 
prove of the massacres of Old Bolsheviks reputed 
traitors was obviously not to her way of thinking. 
She herself spoke so sympathetically of the Soviets 


that I asked her point-blank if she were a com- 
munist, a question she did not deign to answer. All 
in all, not a very harmonious meeting, but of the 
highest interest to me. For here was a soul of crystal 
transparence burning literally with the "hard gem- 
like flame" Walter Pater so recommended. When 
I left she relented a little and presented me with a 
pamphlet wherein she had transcribed her belief 
that China could not be conquered, though just how 
or why she did not explain. After all, argument was 
not her role. . . . 

To meet T. V. Soong was either easy or quite 
impossible, for he came and went like the wind in 
the night and none but his most intimate retainers 
and relations and associates were ever informed in 
advance. After all, he had been the object of any 
number of unsuccessful attacks and I could not be 
surprised that he once failed to tell me in advance 
that we would be traveling on the same train from 
Hong Kong to Canton although I had seen him but 
a few hours previously. The trains on this line were 
bombed often enough without the Japanese naval 
fliers realizing that this particular train was carry- 
ing their arch-enemy* T. V. ; for, after the Generalis- 
simo, there was none, I imagine, whom the invaders 
so hated. 

My first meeting with him was in the Hong Kong 
office of the Bank of Canton. After I had, with 
difficulty, made my way through a roomful of per- 
sons that even my foreign eye recognized as a Chi- 


nese bodyguard, and had waited for a moment In a 
very plain office, I was ushered into the sanctum of 
a man reputed to be the richest in China. Behind a 
desk, in his shirt sleeves, a revolver in a holster on 
his left hip, was a heavy figure, six feet tall, whose 
manner was at the same time boyish, diffident and 
rude. Making all allowances for the terrible war 
strain, the importance of his work and his distinc- 
tion, though I saw him several times, I never be- 
came used to his rudeness. At Hankow he invited 
me to dinner, and when, out of courtesy to him, I 
broke a previous engagement with an American 
friend who had asked other people to meet me, 
and went, he abruptly dismissed me as soon as the 
meal was over. But I became more and more con- 
scious of T. V.'s qualities. His very bulk was in- 

"How do you keep so slim?" he once asked me 
with a touch of envy; "Now I eat almost nothing 
and look at me!" 

To China in distress, burly T. V. was a rock. At 
bottom as Chinese as Chiang Kai-shek himself, T. V. 
nonetheless managed to achieve a unique reputation 
among foreigners as a man of immense capacity, 
absolute reliability and complete honesty. If any- 
one could secure foreign help for China, it was this 
burly son of the hammock peddler. It was precisely 
the qualities that endeared him to Westerners with 
ideas of efficiency that made him so obnoxious to 
many of his elder countrymen, who accused him 


virtually of trying to sell out China to "foreign 
devils." With his brother-in-law Chiang he had 
differed, rumor said, over questions of a balanced 
budget and orderly finances. But I suspected a 
deeper ground and wondered if there were place 
even in China for two such ambitions. 

T. V.'s strength was with the returned students, 
the social-minded leaders, the pro-Russians and the 
youth. Though older men in China suspected while 
respecting him, young Chinese everywhere posi- 
tively thrilled when they heard that I knew and liked 
T. V. For the old fellows seemed to be dreaming of 
a China freed from the Japanese menace that would 
nonetheless preserve the ancient financial tyrannies 
(which were of a type that no free Occidental coun- 
try would have tolerated for twenty-four hours). 
Young China was consciously striving for the inte- 
gral application of all three of Sun Yat-sen's prin- 
ciples, number three, the livelihood (prosperity) of 
the people being as important as nationalism and de- 
mocracy. In this particular it was looking for lead- 
ership less to the Generalissimo than to millionaire 
T. V. Soong. But Young China was still a minority, 
and during the war against the Japanese all lesser 
differences were in abeyance. 




BEFORE trying to estimate China's chance of 
successful resistance I wanted to see for 
myself how China was fighting. The Ministry of 
Publicity was obliging and suggested that the "East 
Front" over beyond Kuling would be a nice quiet 
object of excursion as nothing much was at the 
time going on there. Perversely I insisted on going 
to the "Northern Front" along the Yellow River, 
where a Japanese advance was in full progress. 
A pass signed by the Generalissimo himself was 
forthcoming, along with an interpreter who had 
spent some time at the University of California. 
But the Chinese are close-mouthed with foreigners, 
however well disposed, and they failed to inform 
me that the High Command had determined to 
avoid further battle on the flat country by effecting 
what Madame Chiang Kai-shek preferred to call 
"another strategic withdrawal" and that the firing 
line was moving rapidly toward the west. 

Another foreign newspaper man completed the 
party and, with a fair supply of provisions and 
bedding for sleeping out, we left Hankow early one 



hot June day on the Number One express train of 
the Pinghan Railway, bound for Chengchow, the 
important junction where the north-south railway 
cuts the east-west or Lunghai line. 

A hundred miles or so north of Hankow the 
Chinese "devastated regions" began. Hardly a vil- 
lage or a town but had been smashed from the air. 
Some of the places were half in ruins. Air attacks 
were occurring almost daily, less, as we came to see 
from studying the targets chosen by the airmen, in 
view of inflicting military damage on China than as 
part of a general attempt to terrorize the Chinese. 
And precisely as in ravaged Spain, the effort was 
producing the contrary effect. 

Civil life can of course be completely disrupted 
by frequent air attacks. But a fairly large section 
of the population simply leaves the place. This is 
rather an alleviation to the defenders than other- 
wise. In open country an intelligent person can by 
strict observation of approaching airplanes escape 
injury by bombs unless the attackers are too low or 
too numerous. Since the airmen never can be quite 
sure of the absence of anti-aircraft or machine- 
guns, they generally keep several thousand feet 
above the ground. Their terrific speed forces them 
to drop their bombs several hundred yards ahead 
of the target. This leaves the intended victims 
several seconds in which to seek safety. By plotting 
the course of the airplane in advance (and the pilot 
cannot veer quickly at such high speeds) the man 


on the ground can gain time to run twenty or thirty 
steps to the safer side and, by throwing himself face 
downward on the ground, almost surely escape 
death or serious injury. Naturally the quick-witted 
Chinese learned this at an early stage. 

When a train was attacked, the scene was different. 
I twice witnessed the following: at the alarm signal 
the train stopped where it was, the valuable loco- 
motive was uncoupled and run a quarter of a mile 
up the track where, standing alone, it provided a 
very small target, while passengers and train crew 
left the cars and rushed into the nearby fields. There 
half hidden in the growing crops or flat on their 
bellies in the narrow runways between the wet 
paddy fields of rice, or crouched invisible under a 
hedge or tree, they completely escaped destruction, 
for the aviators aimed their bombs at the standing 
cars. To escape this, trains actually within the war 
zone practically traveled only at night. The Japa- 
nese airmen showed small inclination for night 

In the towns close to the fighting, where air raids 
were incessant, the people were even cannier. Each 
day at sunrise the bulk of the population left the 
built-over area for the safety of the fields. While 
the sun remained above the horizon shops and 
houses were closed and empty. But at dusk the 
people crept back to their homes and did the neces- 
sary buying and selling by the light of faint tapers 
and dingy lanterns flickering through the darkness. 


For the same reason Chinese headquarters, even 
the highest, were usually located in tiny villages 
outside the larger places, and raids by suspicious 
airmen would be answered by complete silence even 
though the surroundings were bristling with anti- 
aircraft guns and the low-flying Japanese could per- 
haps have been brought down with a machine-gun. 

The trip to Chengchow took the scheduled eight- 
een hours for about three hundred miles, the train 
arriving on time. Chengchow itself, though perhaps 
the oldest and most historic town in all China and 
the first big center of the "Sons of Han" when 
they descended on to the Chinese lowlands from 
Turkestan or Mongolia, is a dull sordid place with 
few monuments of any particular interest. It was 
being heavily bombed and a large part of the 
population had left. All the foreign missions in 
town had been more or less damaged by bombing, 
some of which was clearly intentional. The Italian 
Catholics and the American Methodists came off 
worst, their churches being completely shattered. 
Twelve bombs had also fallen into the American 
Baptist Hospital compound. But although it had 
been necessary to transfer the sick to the open 
country, the buildings had thus far escaped. 

Our goal was the town of Lanf eng, some seventy 
miles to the east of Chengchow, where fighting had 
been heavy. A rash division of Japanese, com- 
manded by the famous General Doihara, had actu- 
ally come beyond the Chinese in Lanf eng, only to 


be attacked by other troops and pushed northward 
until they came to bay with the Yellow River behind 
them and the Chinese yapping about them on three 
sides. An attempt to open a line behind them by a 
bridge of boats was thwarted by the Chinese avia- 
tion which destroyed the bridge. The question was 
whether or not the Chinese could deliver the punch 
that would annihilate the weak forces of Doihara 
before they could be relieved by two Japanese 
relief columns advancing westward along the rail- 
way beyond Lanfeng, just south of the Yellow 
River, the one astride the Lunghai Railway, the 
other a few miles to the south. They were weak 
columns, presumably some five regiments in all, or 
twelve thousand bayonets. Opposing them were 
six or perhaps nine weak Chinese divisions, or well 
over fifty thousand men. But whereas the Japs were 
all steel, and motor or horse mounted, with the 
latest equipment, armored trucks, artillery to spare 
and great superiority in the air, the Chinese had 
relatively little of all these things. Moreover, 
memories of the early days of the war, when 
poorly armed Chinese charged entrenched well- 
protected enemies only to be massacred, had pro- 
duced a sometimes excessive caution in the Chinese 
leaders that was causing them to recoil before forces 
weak enough to be annihilated by Chinese numbers. 
Strong in my mind was the impression, based on 
vivid memories of the World War, that somewhere 
or other there must be a fighting "front" and that 


it was my business to get there. At the very least I 
ought to reach Lanfeng and witness the action 
against the "encircled" Doihara Division. Kweiteh, 
the next big town beyond Lanfeng, had fallen to the 
Japanese with twenty precious Chinese locomotives 
as booty. In addition to the eighty lost at Hsuchow a 
couple of weeks previously, that meant a loss of at 
least a hundred. There still seemed to be no cause 
for real worry, since the Chinese claimed to be 
holding Minchuan well beyond Lanfeng and to 
have a whole "army" (an indefinite word meaning 
anything from two to a dozen divisions) at Pochow 
to the southeast. But if we did not move quickly we 
thought we might miss the next fight. 

Railroad stations along the Lunghai Railway, 
China's great east-to-west highway, had been badly 
damaged and the officials were living in bomb-proof 
cellars dug in the yellow loess or clay-like "dust of 
ages" that from time immemorial has been blowing 
eastward from the great arid plains of Central Asia, 
filling the water courses and driving the great 
Yellow River from one bed to another like a home- 
less outcast. To keep it in its latest course, the 
inhabitants have built high above the plain dykes, 
thanks to which the river, scarce of water save after 
heavy rain or in August when the melting flood from 
the mighty snows of the Himalayas reaches the 
plain, meanders along above the cultivated plains 
on either side. On these dark yellow flats grows a 
pale-green pastel-like vegetation, trees, bushes and 


crops. The soil is fertile. In dry weather the strong 
winds whip it up into choking, blinding dust storms. 
Caught in one such, in Chengchow, we were hardly 
able to breathe or speak, while for hours our eyes 
stung with the swift-driven filth. On the other hand, 
when it rains, the worn hard tracks called roads 
(there is no real pavement) become slippery glue 
upon which walking is a trial. 

The loss of the locomotives had made the Chinese 
cautious. There was no guarantee of getting to 
Lanf eng by rail. The best we could do was to entrain 
for Kaifeng, the capital of Honan Province, two- 
thirds of the distance to our goal. We arrived late 
one night and found shelter about three in the 
morning with two shocked women missionaries In 
charge of the American Baptist Mission outside the 
walls. They were accustomed to scorn shelter and 
witness air raids from the totally unprotected roof 
of their main building. But they shrank from the 
scandal of sheltering three strange men under the 
same roof. To relieve their sense of outraged de- 
cency, after breakfast we transferred to the main 
Baptist Center within the walls and in charge of a 
man. He had sent his family away; his furniture 
was crowded into one locked room for protection 
against pillaging Japanese. But like all the foreign 
missionaries he had decided to risk his life and stay 
behind to be faithful to his life work. As one of our 
two women hosts said: 


While the murderers roared away Into the east, we 
hurried to the stricken area near the East Gate. 
The bombs had fallen into the poorest quarter 
where the coolies were nearly all absent or at work. 
The number of women and children killed and 
maimed was nearly a hundred. I counted several 
bodiless heads of babies. From piles of rubble 
came faint groans. A woman sat speechless beside 
the prostrate figure of her dead husband, in her 
arms a baby missing from the waist down. The 
Japanese airplanes that did the killing were manu- 
factured in the United States. 

The operations on the "Northern Front" were in 
charge of the famous "Kwangsi General," Li Tsyng- 
jen. Under him, in charge of our area, was General 
Cheng Sheng, the Yellow River Defense Com- 
mander. We had a letter to General Cheng but 
missed him. At Chengchow they declared him to 
be in Kaifeng. At Kaifeng a sourfaced transport 
officer announced that the General had returned to 
Chengchow, apparently crossing us on the way. 
More than that he refused to say. In fact, he refused 
all information, declared solemnly there was no 
real military authority about, and categorically re- 
fused to help us reach Lanfeng. A new divisional 
general, who blew in to disprove the former state- 
ment, was equally unresponsive and, for China, 
downright impolite. This went on for three-quarters 
of an hour. Finally I announced that as newspaper 
correspondent I had flown some ten thousand miles 


at fabulous cost to see China at war; and having 
come so near the f ront, I was not going back before 
making at least one attempt, with or without per- 
mission. Whereupon the transport officer melted. 
He had, he admitted, intended to make matters 
difficult for us simply because the news was so 
unpleasant: China was again on the retreat. But 
we could, if we insisted and could find some means 
of getting there, go to the headquarters of General 
Hsueh-yo, three miles out in the country. 

He named the spot. We walked. General Hsueh 
and a young officer on his staff who had studied in 
the American Staff College at Fort Leavenworth 
were courtesy itself, but they advised against our 
going to Lanfeng. In reply to queries they refused 
to give any explanations. Yet at the same time, the 
General said, though he would take no responsibility 
for our going, our passes with the signature of the 
Generalissimo were good for the area in question 
and none would stop us if we insisted. 

I did insist. I had been warned by my newspaper 
colleagues at Hankow about the reluctance of the 
Chinese to allow foreign journalists actually to 
witness any fighting, which it was my aim to do. I 
would therefore consent, I said, to wait until the 
next morning to see how matters developed; then, 
without some better reason for desisting, I would 
insist on setting out for Lanfeng. 

Here the interpreter revolted. I knew nothing of 
Chinese ways, he said. The reluctance of General 


Hsueh-yo could only mean, in his eyes, that the 
Chinese were falling back. There were rumors of 
the precipitate evacuation of the entire area. So 
much the more reason for advancing, I urged. We 
should not need to go so far in order to see some- 
thing, at least a glimpse of the Chinese operations 
against the Doihara Division. How go? he coun- 
tered. There were probably no trains. He for his 
part urged a return to Chengchow and a talk with 
the Yellow River Defense Commander before we 
decided on anything rash. But at this point two 
indignant newspaper men refused to give way. After 
all there must be some means of getting for- 
ward. . . . 

The next morning, after witnessing a massacre of 
Chinese women and children by Japanese bombers, 
we learned at the railway station that trains were no 
longer running to Lanfeng. It looked pretty hope- 
less. Twenty-five miles seemed too far to walk in the 
rain that had set in the night before. The interpreter 
took heart. Would we not consent to return to 

And then Chen appeared. Straight, slight, dressed 
in a neat khaki officer's uniform without insignia, 
an immense steel helmet above his smiling face, 
Chen Chen-sze introduced himself as a Chinese 
newspaper man on his way to Lanfeng. He himself 
had reason to believe motor transport could be 
found. Would we perhaps go with him? 

Would we not? From the first minute I liked 


Chen. Chen had a coolie along to carry his baggage. 
We piled into the rickety motor trucks and toward 
five in the afternoon set out for the east, where all 
through the day we had heard the rumble of distant 
guns. The "surrounded" Doihara Division were 
catching it hot. 

As we bumped along over the worst road I have 
ever known, bouncing high off our seats and lurch- 
ing against the sides, we met what seemed to be the 
entire population of the neighboring villages pour- 
ing westward. In rickshaws, heavy ox-carts with 
solid wooden wheels, wheel-barrows; walking, 
riding occasionally on donkeys or mules, the people 
were moving out of the way of the coming Japa- 
nese. The sight was not reassuring. But once we 
reached Lanfeng we would be with the garrison 
and enjoy the relative protection afforded by a 
large body of troops. 

At Chingling, a station nearly half way, we 
picked up the sacks of rice that were to be our 
cargo and then the next disappointment occurred: 
the captain of the motor column announced he had 
received orders to return at once to Kaifeng: he 
could not go on to Lanfeng, the bridges had all 
been blown up that afternoon. We could either 
return with him or take a train that stood puffing 
at the platform pointing in the direction from which 
we had just come. We demurred. We raised our 


Whereupon Chen in his soft voice and negligible 
English : 

"You go Lanf eng walk?" 

"Yes/ 5 we almost shouted. 

"I go Lanfeng," Then, in Chinese, he explained 
that there was a division headquarters a couple of 
miles away where we could spend the night, with 
only a fifteen-mile walk to Lanf eng the following 
day. This was made clear to us and we accepted. 
But here the interpreter rebelled. He did not, he 
explained, much mind being killed by Japanese air- 
men* But there were constant infiltrations of Japa- 
nese cavalry and he refused to fall into the hands 
of Japanese raiders and be tortured to death. He 
would therefore return to Hankow. Before we could 
even answer, he swung himself on the now moving 
train and left us standing in the darkness with Chen 
and his coolie, a friendly soul but with whom we 
could exchange none but the most primitive of 
thoughts. It was a new sensation. 

Six persons, and not four, set out from Chingling. 
From somewhere, perhaps from the disappearing 
train, had appeared two more Chinese, a blue-clad 
student propagandist going out to strew demoraliz- 
ing handbills in the path of the advancing Japa- 
nese, and the propagandist's coolie. The two coolies 
obligingly added our food and bedding to the large 
bundles already hanging from their long bamboo 
poles. Under Chen's guidance, for he possessed a 
hand-drawn chart of the region which he frequently 


consulted, we walked southward, headed toward a 
military headquarters at which to pass the night 
before going on to Lanfeng the following day. The 
presumed location was a village called Kotien. But 
as any real conversation between foreigners and 
Chinese proved impossible owing to absence of a 
common language, there was nothing for the two 
newspaper men to do but walk and see. 

Ten miles away, up by the Yellow River, sleepy 
Chinese cannon growled about the Japanese Doihara 

For hours we trudged across the dark muddy 
plain, we in heavy leather, the educated Chinese in 
tiny cloth slippers, the two coolies barefoot. The 
warm drizzle increased to a steady rain. The loess 
ruts, slippery as snow tracks, became unseen pud- 
dles in and out of which our wet feet went with a 
noisy splash. Chen's map seemed to have been 
drawn by someone careless of exact scale. There 
was some difficulty in finding the place, though 
obviously the name Kotien awakened something 
familiar in the ever scarcer villagers who responded 
at great length with what we could only suppose 
were new and extremely complicated instructions 
how to get there. 

Suddenly, with a sharp hiss that petrified the 
Chinese and caused even us to stop dead in our 
tracks, Chen froze and pointed to something. 
Approaching from the east, and diagonal to our 
path along what seemed to be a road, a tiny light 


no bigger than an oil lamp was moving. It came 
closer, three hundred, a hundred and fifty yards 
away. Then it turned to a pale beam and died away 
to nothing. 

Softly Chen approached me. "Motorcar? 59 he 

"Of course, motorcar," I answered and nodded. 

"You hear?" he persisted. 

"Hear what?" 

"Hear motorcar?" 

"No hear," I answered, suddenly wondering that 
I had not before noticed how that now invisible 
something had moved along without a sound. 

"No hear motorcar?" Chen whispered persist- 

I shook my head. 

"Then Japanese," Chen announced with finality. 
"Japanese motorcar." 

We stood paralyzed. What would happen next, 
I caught myself wondering, while I softly wiped 
the rain and sweat from my bare head. The answer 
came at once. Out of the darkness a luminous beam 
suddenly blazed like a lighthouse straight at us. 
Automatically we dropped on our bellies into the 
wet road behind a thin curtain of bushes and sure 
we had been seen, awaited the expected rattle of 
machine-guns. My nose nuzzled the wet earth. 

Nothing happened. Apparently the man behind 
the light had overlooked six figures in a field, for 


the beam shifted again, raking the low bushes as 
though suspecting our presence but unable to find us. 

The minute the light was off us Chen had me by 
the hand and, bent double, dashing from bush to 
bush, we ran from that light like scared rabbits. 
Three hundred yards ahead we pulled up and drew 

"Japanese motorcar," Chen said with a Chinese 
laugh and again began discussing directions with 
the student propagandist. 

But this was Chinese territory. How could the 
Japanese simply have come along a main highway 
through the lines even at night without meeting any 

"He's right," my colleague suddenly volunteered. 
"I remember now at Shanghai the Jap armored 
trucks moved about silently. The sooner we get 
somewhere away from here the happier I shall be. 
Forgetting what they would do to the Chinese, what 
a fine place this field would be for an international 
'accident' on a nice dark night like this!" 

"But if they just come through the front like that 
there can't be any Chinese army." 

"There's an army somewhere all right but you 
might as well understand here and now, there isn't 
any front. Chinese and Japanese just go where 
they please. This is a free war." It was my turn to 

For half an hour more Chen led us forward on 
his little cloth shoes through the muck, the student 


and the barefooted coolies at his heels. More noisily 
we followed. Then a shape appeared out of the 
darkness and rapidly turned into a huge gate in an 
ancient wall. 


A funny sort of headquarters; inside it was as 
black as without; where was the Chinese army? 
Abruptly there was a faint noise near us. Chen's 
flashlight picked up a man, and he called out 
reassuringly. With a scream, the figure fled; run- 
ning in a zigzag it reached the dark gate behind us 
and disappeared. A funny sort of headquarters, 
indeed. For a good quarter of an hour we stood 
behind a bush and waited while the barefooted 
coolies, having laid down their heavy loads, crept 
forward to scout. Finally they reappeared with an 
aged Chinese peasant. More endless conversation. 
So far as I could gather, he explained that the 
Chinese had all gone and the villagers with them 
leaving behind only him and the screaming coolie 
who had taken us for the expected Japanese. 

There was no time to be lost: quickly we sneaked 
out through the gate and again suddenly stopped. 
This time I felt my heart thumping. Over to the 
east the searchlight was still fingering the landscape 
in our direction. But straight ahead, between us 
and Chingling station, other new lights were gradu- 
ally moving westward. In that direction, too, we 
were cut off. So, as fast as we could, we made off 
in the direction that seemed open, namely toward 


the southwest. After a long time slipping and splash- 
ing through the rain, we reached another tiny 
village. A timid Chinese in a hut responded to a 
gentle call and then guided us to a large walled 
farm. Two figures moved swiftly toward us. Chen 
flashed his light full on himself, on the military 
button serving instead of regular insignia, and spoke 
to them. After a moment they seemed satisfied as 
to his identity and let him in alone, while we 
waited. When he returned, we saw by his flashlight 
that the two figures were soldiers holding hand 
grenades. Reluctantly they drew aside and let us 
into the abandoned farmhouse. 

We spent the night there. The runaway owner 
must have been prosperous, for there was a big 
inner courtyard, with a principal dwelling behind 
and side-houses for extra women and servants. We 
took possession of one of these side-houses; silk 
things lay on a table, there was a family altar, and 
we slept on a matting-covered bed, too tired to 
mind the fleas, after a glorious supper of cold 
corned beef, canned fruit and noodles hastily boiled 
by the coolies over a wet outdoor oven. 

By five o'clock the next morning we were up, but 
it was seven before we had had our tea, finished ofi 
the evening's scraps for breakfast and once more 
started toward Lanfeng. The Japanese armored 
truck had gone, but at every village we made 
inquiries, for safety lay in reaching a good-sized 
body of Chinese troops. An hour's walk to the east, 


and we were suddenly in the midst of hundreds of 
soldiers. There, in the middle of a village called 
Taipinkong, was the man we had vainly sought the 
evening before Chen's friend. General Kwei 
Yung-chun, commander of the Twenty-seventh Army 
Corps, wearing no visible insignia, like many Chi- 
nese commanders. He had, it appeared, been quar- 
tered just south of Lanfeng and failed to reach 
Kotien the night before. As the General had studied 
military science in Germany, I was able to converse 
with him and received confirmation that the entire 
Chinese army was retiring, leaving behind only a 
rearguard to cover the retreat. 

Were those Japanese we had missed the night 

Very likely. There were no Chinese armored cars 
in the neighborhood. 

But could we reach Lanfeng and join the rear- 

"I really cannot say," the General answered. 
"The Japanese are filtering in from the southeast. 
They were all around us last night, as you noticed. 
Go on as far as Chenliu and inquire and after that 
keep well to the north, close to the railway." 

Chen took two hand grenades from a soldier's 
belt and put them in his own. ("Capture? yes? 
. . . torture, no," he explained.) For another hour 
we pushed eastward, meeting the General's troops 
coming back, slight fellows, many of them South- 
erners with bare feet and broad straw-and-bamboo 


hats, but carrying their often heavy burdens with 
the patient ease of the coolie. Then, when only four 
li (something over a mile) from Chenliu, a soldier 
jabbered fiercely at us as we passed. Chen stopped 
our caravan and talked. Then he turned to us and, 
with his finger, began drawing lines on the ground 
in the mud. 

"Here Kaifeng, here Lanfeng, here Chenliu," 
he said. "No Chinese Chenliu. Japanese two li 
here" (he pointed to the south) . "You go Lanfeng?" 

We stopped and debated : getting to Lanfeng had 
become almost an obsession. Maybe the soldier was 
misinformed and we could still slip through? I 
knew that if we decided to try it, Chen and his 
party would stay with us through anything. 

Once again the decisive argument was furnished 
by the Japanese. 

Just at this moment, less than half a mile to the 
south, one of their machine guns began to rattle 
monotonously and was almost immediately an- 
swered by another to the east. There was no Chinese 
answering fire. Leaves cut from a nearby tree by 
bullets began slowly floating to earth. 

"Japanese Chenliu," announced Chen, grinning 
below his helmet and thick glasses as though it was 
the best joke in the world. "You go Lanfeng?" 

We groaned. All morning I had had visions of 
being ridden down by Japanese cavalry after a 
wild scamper across those muddy fields, and then 
trying to explain to troopers with drawn sabers 


that we were, after all, foreign newspaper men and 
as much worthy of consideration ... as the 
Panay. With the Japs less than a mile away what 
chance would we six have getting through in broad 
daylight? And if seen, what could we do with Chen's 
two hand grenades? By evening, according to Gen- 
eral Kwei, it would be too late. We were beaten. 
The presence of those machine guns settled it. 

But before we turned back, the student suddenly 
drew from a wallet slung about his neck a handful 
of tiny illustrated bills in Japanese and let the 
wind blow them across the fields just where the 
Japanese would find them. The aim was to incite 
the Japanese soldiery to revolt. One picture showed 
a Japanese general whipping a chained Japanese 
soldier; a second, the same Japanese soldier, now 
freed, shaking hands with a Chinese soldier; a third, 
the two together happily sticking a bayonet into the 
shackled Japanese general. . . . 

We faced about and started back. "In all proba- 
bility," I thought with some bitterness, "I shall die 
without ever having seen the city of Lanf eng." 


Our goal was Kaifeng where we had left our 
baggage. Within a short time, for we made speed, 
we had again caught the laggards among General 
Kwefs troops and walked along with them. Hardly 
had we gone a mile before a concealed Japanese 
light battery off to the south let loose. The marks- 


manship was good, the fourth shell found the road 
neatly. But Chen was equal to anything. Hardly had 
the first shell burst before he had us off the road 
and once more we were running across the fields 
away from the column of soldiers that offered the 
bigger target. When another shell came feeling 
after us, Chen made us tear large branches from 
the bushes and hold them high in the air over our 
heads. Thus camouflaged, he conveyed to us by 
gestures, we would become invisible to the gunners. 
Once more he proved to be right. Within another 
half -hour we had not only ceased to be a target, but 
were well out of range. 

"Nothing to do but take the train back to Cheng- 
chow," muttered my companion gloomily. "Imagine 
not getting to Lanfeng after all this walking. My 
feet are something awful." So were my own. Since 
leaving the truck at Chingling station the night 
before, we had walked seven hours. It was two 
hours more before we reached the high crenelated 
walls of Kaif eng, and still another hour before we 
entered the Baptist Mission in the center of the 
town, where we had left our luggage, for all the 
gates but one were already closed and the ap- 
proaches mined. Protecting Kaif eng to the east was 
a broad anti-tank ditch and several lines of trenches, 
but the latter were unmanned. 

Leaving the Chinese waiting at the still open 
gate, we hurried through the now almost deserted 
town. We had hoped to find rickshaws. None were 


to be had. There were hardly any troops inside the 
walls; clearly, the Chinese intended to put up no 
very decisive resistance here. 

"Hurry, or we shall miss the last train/' 

We strode through the wet, empty streets on 
burning feet. The Mission was empty but we found 
a letter from our runaway interpreter that caused 
us to smile through our misery. He had, he ex- 
plained, gone through the most awful experience 
of his life, for he had sought shelter by leaving us, 
only to run into the most terrible air raid he had 
ever known. 

Back from the Mission, that merciless mile over 
rough pavement to the Southern Gate. It was almost 
completely blocked with bricks and sandbags. A 
group of soldiers motioned us back but we grinned 
and pushed between them, hurrying in the direction 
of the station. And there outside was Chen. 

"No train," he announced with the graciousness 
of a man offering a birthday gift. "Japanese four li. 
Hear machine guns. Cannons. Walk now Chung- 
mow, see General Kwei." And, with a broad sweep 
of his arm, he trotted forward on his heelless cloth 
slippers. His tireless coolie added my typewriter to 
the heavy load on the bamboo pole and followed. I 
looked at my watch. It was twenty minutes to two. 
The alternatives were clear: stay, trust to the Japa- 
nese when the town fell, or get out at once. With a 
groan, I started limping westward after Chen, along 
the twenty-mile road to Chungmow. 


A few minutes later, the Southern Gate was defi- 
nitely closed to traffic. Some time that afternoon, 
the Japanese onslaught on Kaifeng began. It was 
forty-eight hours before the town fell. 

Guns were already thundering away to the 
south; what was that rattle of machine guns? Shut- 
ting my eyes and whistling to forget my feet, I 
hurried after my companions. Within half an hour 
we had caught up with another and more fantastic 

The weather had changed again. Old women, 
children, all sorts of soldiers, carts, wheel-barrows, 
rickshaws simply filled the streaming wet highway 
where the morning's heat had given place to a cold 
northeast wind that chilled the rain-soaked skin. 

Dainty Chinese girls in silken semi-modern dress 
and slippers, older women hobbling along surpris- 
ingly quickly on their bound feet with the aid of 
long poles on which they balanced ; occasional old 
men; rich wives of merchants in rickshaws; peasant 
girls plodding stolidly; tiny children wet to the skin 
but impassive in the long-suffering Chinese way; 
whole families on heavy ox-carts with solid wooden 
wheels, drawn by inconceivable combinations of 
domestic animals, their small household goods all 
mixed up with the equipment of the soldiers trot- 
ting beside them; babies in boxes on tiny wheels or 
strapped to the back of tottering older children; 
occasional sturdy farmers lifting the handles of 
gigantic loaded wheel barrows, their remaining 


donkey or wife or children pulling in front: these 
were inextricably mixed with the retreating Chinese 
army. There were almost no motor vehicles, and the 
few were piled to the sky with women and goods 
and attempts to purchase transportation were sternly 
refused. There seemed eternally no proper trans- 
port and, after the loss of rolling stock at Hsuchow 
and Kweiteh, the authorities were careful to keep 
what remained out of the reach of the Japanese. 

An occasional horseman trotted by; a few officers 
and officials pedaled along on bicycles. But except 
for occasional groups on the ox-carts, most of the 
soldiers, like most of the refugees, simply walked, 
although many, like the writer and his colleague, 
had come from places well to the east of Kaifeng. 
Soldiers in every shade of khaki, from dust yellow 
to pale green and blue, peasants in everything 
under the sun, all were mingled in one endless 
procession. Occasionally, an ox-cart would have to 
stop, as a starved horse collapsed under the strain 
and died. 

Sometimes a man did the same. Never had I seen 
such wounded. They were few enough, the bulk 
having simply been left behind, somewhere. But 
those who could walked. Helped by comrades or 
limping alone, Chinese soldiers with bandaged 
arm, shoulder or leg, staggered forward along that 
endless rain-swept highway. Many were able to 
keep erect only thanks to long poles like those of 
the deformed old women. Their faces pale almost 


to Occidental pallor, or drawn into knots with the 
pain, they stubbornly went on. A bareheaded boy 
staggered forward, his steel helmet pressed to his 
belly and in his helmet a section of intestines. Not 
an ambulance in sight, not" a doctor. Only very 
occasionally a wounded man seemed to have found 
temporary rest on top of a piled ox-cart or within 
the semi-waterproof curtains of a rickshaw. 

It was interesting to compare this retreat with the 
Italian defeat at Caporetto in 1917, in which I 
participated. The same inextricable mixture of 
soldiers and refugees, the same pitilessly streaming 
rain over the flat plain. But there the resemblance 
ended. Caporetto was part rout, part military strike. 
The well-armed, well-clothed, well-fed Italian sol- 
diers simply abandoned vast quantities of material 
in wild disorder and, in a frame of mind varying 
from panic to elation, started for home. 

This army had next to no equipment, the southern 
soldiers never had had shoes; there was hardly a 
coat in the long defile, steel helmets were the 
exception. Bayonets were anything but universal. 
On the other hand, umbrellas were plentiful. I saw 
a few machine guns, one small thing that looked 
like a trench mortar, one anti-aircraft gun. In the 
course of two days on the road with troops, I noticed 
hardly more than half a dozen batteries of field 
guns. During a week, not a single Chinese airplane 
flew over us while Jap planes were everywhere. Of 
kitchens there was none: a few iron kettles on 


bamboo poles were about all. For the rest, each 
soldier seemed to carry his own food, and there 
was a lively trade in and pilfering of chickens and 
ducks along the way. One saw soldiers and refugees 
eating together from common pots. But what war 
material the Chinese had, they kept. I doubt if the 
entire retreat from Lanf eng westward to Chengchow 
cost them more than eight or nine guns, lost by 
carelessness. As for marching, there is no force in 
the world equal to these thinly clad, barefoot sol- 
diers. The rare officers smiled and once or twice 
joked with us in English. I expected a demoraliza- 
tion. There was none. Retreat meant nothing to this 
army: after all, was not one place as good as 
another? A few soldiers scowled at a pair of limp- 
ing newspaper men, but most smiled at the unusual 
sight of two foreign "masters" hoofing it out of 
reach of the Japs. Some offered portions of their 
scanty food and questionable drink. I received the 
loan of a bicycle for an hour, a boon to blistered 
feet, rested a precious half -hour on a cart drawn by 
one cow, one pregnant donkey and two mules, and 
finally, toward night, when the rain was falling in 
torrents, climbed aboard a passing telephone truck 
and rode the last few miles to Chungmow packed 
tight among coolie soldiers. Not once did I see signs 
of anger or depression. 

Chungmow is an ancient walled city of the worst 
sort. The houses are small and dingy, the unpaved 
streets had become quagmires under the drenching 


rain, and only by haughtily producing passes, signed 
by Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek himself, were 
two correspondents allowed to hobble up its main 
street, asking vainly for the headquarters of our 
acquaintance General Kwei Yung-chun, who had 
told us at Taipinkong, early the same morning, 
that he expected to spend the night at Chungmow. 
None seemed to have heard of him, and finally an 
officer, whom we pestered with questions in lan- 
guages he did not speak, shoved us through an open 
door into a dingy room lined with benches. It might 
have been an opium den: it turned out to be a bath 
house with benches whereon the Chinese like to lie 
and repose after the fatiguing process of the bath. 
Barely able to move, we collapsed upon two benches 
and began removing layer after layer of well-soaked 

A boy approached and obviously wanted to know 
our business. We were able to order tea and ex- 
plain by motions that we had come a long way on 
foot from the front. The boy was sympathetic. But 
how make clear that we wanted our outer garments 
dried, if possible, before the kitchen fire? When we 
got to this point, "Can I help you, gentlemen?" said 
a pleasant voice behind us. We almost collapsed 
with astonishment. It was an employee of the 
admirable Chinese postal service. And from that 
moment everything went swimmingly. Food could 
no longer be bought in the rapidly emptying city. 
But what the post office official had, he shared with 


us, and we dined sumptuously (we had had no 
lunch) on a Chinese roll and a handful of peanuts, 
washed down by innumerable cups of tea and a 
little Chinese brandy that caused our teeth to stop 
chattering, donated by the proprietor. We had no 
bedding and the bench in the bath house was any- 
thing but soft, but I slept soundly. The next morn- 
ing, Saturday, we learned that General Kwei had, 
indeed, come, but also gone the night before, further 
west, to distant Loyang. 

Our chafed and blistered feet were festering. But 
somehow or other we had to get back to Chengchow 
before the Japanese could cut the railway line south 
of the town and prevent our return to Hankow. 
Something came steaming into Chungmow station 
from the west. We almost shouted: maybe it would 
soon be returning. But it turned out to be an 
armored train sent up to the last bit of track west 
of the blown-up bridges to help cover the retreat of 
the few divisions that were still holding out in 
Kaifeng and points east. Meanwhile friend Chen, 
who had spent the night at a farm, appeared with 
the student propagandist, the two coolies and our 
baggage. Together, around noon, we set out along 
the railroad ties on the last twenty-two mile section 
of our trek to the west. 

The rain had ceased falling, the sun came out, 
the heat was intense. Soon we decided to leave our 
baggage with the friendly Chinese comrades and 


their worn but faithful coolies and to push ahead 
as fast as we could. 

We did. In the next three hours we covered ten 
hitter miles, finding ourselves in the very midst of 
a retreating Chinese division. Some soldiers led 
along three captured Japanese by ropes thin as 
string. More men with barely dressed wounds hob- 
bled along at a surprisingly fast pace, showing no 
signs of pain. The Chinese claimed to have over 
two hundred military hospitals, but in the absence 
of ambulances it was up to these men to get them- 
selves out of immediate danger, if they wished for 
real treatment, and most of them were doing it. 

But as the heat grew greater and our feet ever 
more painful, we were soon thinking principally of 
ourselves. At the eleven-mile mark, there was a 
station. Here we paused for a drink. The water 
they offered came from an open well in which a 
dead frog was floating. With sporadic cholera all 
over the place, with typhoid endemic and dysentery 
as common as cold in the head, one would hardly 
have taken a greater risk in drinking arsenic. But 
there was no other liquid available except the slimy 
green pools from which some of the soldiers had 
been drinking. The temptation was torture. Choking 
back tears, I put it behind me. Just then a soldier 
caught my sleeve and led me indoors. In a great 
iron caldron rice was boiling. I dipped up a cupful 
of the scalding water and gulped it down. 

Once again luck came. We abandoned the pitiless 


railway ties and were walking across a field toward 
the highroad when we were hailed in English. It was 
a somewhat portly Chinese officer who had been 
surprised by the presence of two Westerners amid 
this crowd of Chinese. He cross-questioned us and 
we explained our adventures, our exhaustion and 
our desire to reach Chengchow as quickly as pos- 
sible in order to reach Hankow before the Linghan 
Railway should be cut. 

"We/' he said, "are a medical unit of which I 
am the general. We are going over here to wait at a 
farmhouse until a motor truck arrives to take us to 
Chengchow. My son studied in the United States. 
He lived with people who treated him like one of 
the family. I should like to be good to an American. 
For his sake I shall take you both along in the motor 
truck with us.* 5 It was a voice from Heaven. 

For an hour we lay on the ground in the farm 
courtyard and drank cup after cup of sterile water 
fresh from the boiling kettle. Nightfall found us 
back at the American Baptist Hospital in Cheng- 
chow, our feet dressed, eating American food. 

Anxiously we inquired if the railway to Hankow 
had as yet been cut. 

"No trains came in yesterday," the doctors told 
us, "but to-night there may be one. Eat quickly and 
go straight to the station and wait/' 

The station was crammed to suffocation with 
soldiers and refugees. I had seen similar places in 
Soviet Russia bursting with prospective travelers 


patiently waiting for a conveyance; I had stood up 
all night with refugees from the invaded regions in 
war-time Italy; never did I see anything quite so 
crowded as the station at Chengchow. Hours passed. 
There was no train for Hankow. 

Instead, two or three tracks away, another train 
stood quietly under full steam. It consisted of two 
parlor sleeping cars in which a dozen officers sat at 
quiet tables before the windows and drank; two 
freightcars loaded with unseen merchandise, and 
four flatcars. Soldiers were loading the flatcars with 
motor trucks and passenger automobiles, obviously 
at the disposal of the occupants of the parlor cars. 

"Where is that train going?" I asked. 

"Westward to Sian." 

"Why don't the soldiers get on it instead of wait- 
ing here for something that may never come?" 

"Because it is a generals' train." 

"But the generals could double up a little and 
take less space. And they could send the motor 
vehicles by road to Sian and fill up those flatcars 
with tired soldiers." 

"Not Chinese generals." 

Wlien the last of the flatcars was loaded, the 
generals* train pulled out, making way for the 
passenger train which had been waiting to enter the 
station. It was one in the morning. Thanks to a 
friendly station master, we secured two spots on the 
floor of a baggage car, and slept. When we awoke^ 
the train had passed the danger point. Transferring 


to Number One Express, itself crowded to the roof, 
with a crowd of soldiers who howled vainly for 
admittance to the compartment, after one air raid 
and two hot boxes, we reached Hankow only sixteen 
hours late. 

In the train we had met a foreign railway em- 
ployee. "Watch out in the next few days," he had 
said. "That armored train you met at Chungmow 
was not so much sent there to cover the retreat as to 
protect the Chinese working on the Yellow River 
dykes north of the town." 

"Funny moment to be building up the dykes. . . ." 

He winked. "Who said anything about building 
them up. You know the river is higher than the 


"Well, the Chinese are planting dynamite in the 
dykes in two .places not far from Chungmow." And 
again he winked. 

A few days later the Chinese High Command 
issued a statement to the effect that Japanese air- 
men, dropping bombs near the Yellow River, had 
burst the dykes and the water was pouring south- 
ward across the plain just between the Pinghan 
Railway and the advancing Japanese columns. 

"Very providential of the Japanese," remarked 
my companion. 

That was the day when Chen Chen-tse appeared 
in Hankow with our abandoned baggage. There are 
not many like Chen. 



". . . Der Soldat, der Soldat, 
1st der feinste Mann im ganzen Stoat" 

German Marching Song. 

CHINA must always have had armies for the 
country was frequently at war. But nowhere 
was military prestige so low as among the "Sons of 
Han." Great generals were celebrated in verse and 
on the stage and some of the poets themselves were 
soldiers. But they never seem to have felt much but 
contempt for the profession. Anything further from 
the romantic feudalism of medieval Europe or mod- 
ern Japan could hardly be imagined. 

Almost inevitably, one would think, the quality 
of the army suffered. In these early contacts with 
western enemies Chinese soldiers were something 
of a joke. They were in the habit of firing once or 
twice and then going somewhere else, leaving the 
enemy in possession of the field. This was quite in 
accordance with the classical treatises on strategy 
which always urged allowing the foe to escape by 
one way or another. The struggles between the rival 
"war lords" all seemed to be governed by the strict- 
est conventionality. It was rather like beer-gang 
rivalries in the United States. Look as you might, it 
was impossible to discover the germ of an idea. 



This first began to change during the campaigns 
of unification waged by Chiang Kai-shek against all 
rivals in the late 'twenties and early 'thirties. But 
the fact that Chiang's troops, representing at least 
nominally Chinese unity and nationalism, could 
still sometimes be successfully opposed by the pro- 
vincial armies under half -independent governors, 
by private mercenaries under war lords or, in the 
case of the communists, by a disciplined but miser- 
ably equipped party army, proves how difficult it 
was to make willing and efficient soldiers out of 

Evidence of definite transformation was first 
given not by Chiang's forces but by the Nineteenth 
Route Army at Shanghai in 1932. In their heroic 
resistance to the far better armed Japanese, while 
Chiang's two million men stood by idly and watched, 
these soldiers gave promise of the even more stub- 
born Chinese resistance against greater Japanese 
forces five years later. To all who wished to see, it 
was clear first that the "Sons of Han" were ap- 
proaching a stage where their emotions could be 
aroused by a patriotic appeal, and second, that once 
so aroused, the Chinese "human material" was 
capable of being made into a first-class military 

The final signal for Chinese military awakening 
was the second Japanese aggression of 1937. 
Chiang's crack divisions immediately gave a good 
account of themselves. There was a surge of patri- 


otism that surprised nearly everyone, residents as 
well as outsiders. Remarkable was the fact, not so 
much that Chiang's few German-trained divisions 
fought and fought well but that after their final 
defeat and the virtual rout at Nanking, China as a 
whole stood the shock and became more determined 
than ever. Circles that had hitherto remained in- 
different, if not to China's fate, at least to the 
military effort which alone could ultimately trans- 
form the Japanese invasion into something favor- 
able to China, suddenly became patriotic. 

From one end to the other of this pathetically 
pacifist country where the soldier had been some- 
thing below a servant and hardly distinguishable 
from a common criminal, the bugles began to blow 
no wailing Chinese laments but short, stirring, 
martial calls. New songs of battle, sprung from 
nowhere, were suddenly sung from one end of the 
country to the other. One heard them from soldiers, 
from students, from Chinese newspaper men. They 
were introduced into the schools, popularized among 
refugee children, introduced into austere centers of 
highly academic scholarship. 

China had revered sages. It paid homage to the 
political theorist and revolutionary, Sun Yat-sen, 
But it certainly had never accepted as its most 
popular and representative figure a soldier. Yet 
within a few months after the outbreak of hostilities 
Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek had become the 
patriot-hero, the universally acknowledged leader 


and the symbol of a renascent nation in which 
nationalism was fairly bubbling. This process was 
of course consciously encouraged by the authorities; 
not only by the Chiang group who had the most to 
gain from it, but by former opponents of the 
Generalissimo, by all those who, determined to 
oppose the Japanese to the bitter end, recognized in 
the silent soldier the only living Chinese who could 
mobilize all energies, rally all factions, focus the 
entire national feeling on New China's first armed 
struggle. With the elevation of Chiang Kai-shek 
inevitably went a reversal of ancient values: from 
being the lowest of the low, the soldier abruptly 
became the highest figure in the country. 

The results were immediate. Not only the young 
people poured upon soldiers departing for the front 
a vast store of emotion. Not only everything be- 
came a hymn to war and struggle theater, litera- 
ture, books, art, posters and public placards. But 
getting into some sort of uniform became almost a 
necessity. And from Hong Kong to Burma, from 
the Wuhan cities to the stony wastes of Gobi and 
the steppes of Outer Mongolia, everyone adopted 
military dress. There were soldiers, soldiers, sol- 
diers everywhere, literally millions of them, in all 
sorts of colors from dark cream or dust-colored 
khaki through the yellows and the browns to a vivid 
light green and overall blue. An immense crop of 
new-made officers accompanied this mass, their uni- 
forms more sober in color. Generals wore small 


Insignia on their collars while most of the junior 
officers showed their rank by round pinned buttons 
like an American political badge, above which was 
often another button with the features of Generalis- 
simo Chiang. Military police, or soldiers on police 
duty, could be distinguished by badges big as play- 
ing cards covered by a sheet of mica against the 
rain, while common soldiers' units were sometimes 
apparent on their sleeves. 

Not only the soldiers affected uniforms. The six 
sorts of police (whose power to arrest was often 
keenly resented), the students and school children, 
postmen, boy scouts, sanitary men from the famous 
Buddhist good-will brotherhood who had discovered 
the swastika two or three thousand years before 
Adolf Hitler, the mass of government employees, 
all got out of their graceful ancient robes or sloppy 
Occidental dress and into some sort of uniform. So 
strong was the contagion that even persons with no 
official quality whatever found it proper to turn up 
in that half -military, half -overall costume with high 
collar and without visible shirt, first adopted by 
the Russian Bolsheviks. 

Thousands and thousands of women followed the 
men's example. Robes and baggy trousers were the 
time-honored common property of both sexes. Put- 
ting the girls into pants, though a great aesthetic 
loss, was no novelty for them. New was the volun- 
tary merging of the elegant, half westernized youth 
of both sexes into the drab and anonymous mass 


of the nation. It became fashionable to be merely 
militant Chinese. On the outside, capitalist and 
communist, mandarin and coolie, became indistin- 

This did not mean that all the Chinese who should 
have been were actually fighting or seeking employ- 
ment at the front. From an Occidental viewpoint the 
country was simply full of "embusques" who used 
birth, position, education, influence or power as a 
reason for avoiding danger zones. The moral duty 
of the best actually to lead the rank and file for the 
sake of example was not always followed or under- 
stood. Noblesse oblige was something new to un- 
romantic China. One could still meet a physician or 
a scholar who referred disdainfully to China's strug- 
gle as a "coolies' war." Any number of the super- 
fluous officials could obviously be spared for the 
front. Yet so long as there was no lack of other 
recruits, just what, the Chinese asked, was the use 
of "wasting the educated minority"? 

However little enthusiasm the privileged showed 
in volunteering for the front, there could be no 
thought of their actually disobeying a summons to 
do so at least, not anywhere but in the remote 
districts of Szechwan and Yunnan. The new disci- 
pline was rigorously enforced, reaching in certain 
corps and training schools and barracks a truly 
Prussian precision. Schoolboys and refugee chil- 
dren snapped to attention on command. Recruits 
but three weeks under the celestial flag (white sun 


against blue sky on red ground) moved like ma- 
chines at the sharp treble bark of the drill sergeant. 
Was this the people of individualists considered too 
uncompromising to govern themselves, reputed 
without national pride or civic feeling? Where was 
the traditional Chinese anarchy? 

Now in the strict sense it was literally true that 
they were not governing themselves. They were 
being ruled by a semi-military government based 
on Chiang Kai-shek and the Soongs, on the army 
and on the Kuomintang Party organization. For- 
eigners thought to detect a gradual decrease of 
Kuomintang influence in favor of the Generalis- 
simo's personal military machine. In certain prov- 
inces, Kwangtung, Kwangsi, Yunnan, Szechwan, 
Shensi, the central military authority had to come 
to terms with and govern through the local author- 
ities. Governors of provinces, most of them "gen- 
erals" (in China an honorary title rather than a 
precise military rank), sometimes overlooked the 
orders of the shaven-headed Generalissimo at Han- 
kow at whom they had formerly snapped their 
fingers. They were no longer snapping them. That 
might easily bring them before a firing squad. For 
as the war progressed, and Chiang's incredibly 
Chinese tactics began to justify themselves, the 
authority of the Central Government grew. For it 
was based not so much on fear and military disci- 
pline as on the backing of virtually the entire group 
of educated Chinese, China or foreign trained, 


capitalist, communist, modern technician or an- 
cient literary scholar, united in a common loathing 
of the Japanese invaders. This group controlled 
the bureaucracy, occupied the positions of technical 
leadership, directed popular education. Their im- 
mediate influence, plus the redoubtable facts that 
Chiang alone possessed the quality of leadership, 
an army and plenty of money, made him vastly out- 
shine any other conceivable luminary. Strength- 
ened by the flame of popular indignation, Chiang's 
influence spread even to large sections of the once 
so indifferent, still too passive, long-suffering, all- 
enduring, all-surviving mass of coolies, probably 
the toughest population in the world. 

Once the reborn Chinese nation began giving its 
best energies to the war, everything, or nearly, had 
to be improvised. Modern China was after all con- 
fined to a few towns on the coast. In the interior, 
one still saw little girls, their feet bound to make 
them tiny; the women themselves lived in actual 
subjection to the men whatever their formal status. 
A vast amount of opium smoking went on and so- 
called leaders lived upon the profits from it. Filth 
and excrement and disease existed on an indescrib- 
able scale. The few modern physicians had hardly 
begun to tackle the ancient fermentations, purify 
the water, give a first faint semblance of sanitation 
to the houses, root out deeply anchored supersti- 
tions that made for over-population, mental and 
physical deficiency, suffering and degradation. II- 


literacy was still the rule. Statistically the picture 
of China even in wartime remained appalling. But 
statistics are dead. China was very much alive and 
each day more consciously so. During the war the 
transformation from ancient to modern was fan- 
tastically speeded up. It could not prevail in a year 
nor even in a decade. The hour for a new synthesis 
between all that was finest in old China's culture, 
its science, art and philosophy, and the borrowed 
Occidental civilization that was slowly transforming 
the country a graft which could again make the 
Chinese the highly creative people they once were 
had not yet struck. But something brand new was 
making steady headway, particularly among the 

Why then the need for conscription? Surely the 
inexhaustible well of Chinese man-power should 
have furnished enough real volunteers to make 
obligatory service unnecessary. Several explana- 
tions were available. Some people said that the 
peasants, the bulk of any conceivable Chinese army, 
would not volunteer in sufficient numbers. Others 
pointed to the need for social justice and particu- 
larly for unifying the hitherto centrifugally tending 
provinces under a common flag and a common dis- 
cipline. Perhaps the truth lay somewhere between 
the two. By conscription the Generalissimo was 
unquestionably mixing and binding together in a 
common task and a common feeling men who had 
never before felt much in common. But also, with- 


out the shadow of a doubt he was making sure that 
the overwhelming superiority in numbers that was, 
with the vast distance, China's greatest asset, should 
be under all circumstances maintained without dis- 
cussion. Introduction of conscription into China no 
more meant a failing morale than introduction of 
conscription in highly educated Great Britain dur- 
ing the World War testified to failing national reso- 
lution. The important thing after the Nanking dis- 
aster was the reconstitution of a powerful National 
Army, in contrast to the numerous strong provincial 
armies that in the past had done the country so 
much mischief. 

This reconstituted National Army, comprising 
men from all parts of the country, including white- 
turbaned, bearded Moslems from Turkestan and 
"directors" of Mongolian fighting "Banners," com- 
pletely changed the scene. After a year of warfare, 
it had grown to somewhere around two hundred 
divisions of so-called "regular" soldiers. Many 
were poorly equipped, ill-trained, badly officered. 
But as the war progressed, Chinese morale pro- 
gressed with it. Considering that the number of 
really trained Chinese soldiers was very low in- 
deed, there was nothing surprising in the fact that 
it took an immense number of Chinese to oppose or 
"contain" the hundreds of thousands of Japanese 
troops engaged in invading China. 

A complete picture of the organization of China's 
fighting forces was difficult to obtain if only because 


of the infinite variety of origin, and the transforma- 
tion of provincial to National. In communist Shensi 
it was not the same as in militarist Kwangsi, for 
example. It did not seem to be identical in Hopei. 
But in a general way, the situation seemed some- 
what as follows: 

Reserves were being drawn from two sources, the 
National Army training units established right 
throughout the country and the remains of the 
former provincial armies which were being not so 
much abolished as emptied of their contents. In 
some provinces this emptying process was almost 
complete, in others, Szechwan and Yunnan for 
example, it had hardly begun. But each province 
was regularly sending to the battle zone slightly 
more men than were being lost as casualties. Had 
China possessed the requisite war material or un- 
limited credit with which to obtain it, the army 
strength could at any time have been doubled and 
its quality perhaps increased four-fold. Lacking 
such credit, lacking perhaps the possibility of pur- 
chase on so large a scale in a war-mad world, trans- 
port, equipment, medical services and supplies, 
everything must remain sketchy. China was making 
efforts in the way of producing its own arms. Small- 
arm production was pronounced "nearly adequate." 
Hand grenades could apparently be supplied in 
profusion by a people adept in the making of can- 
non crackers. Trench mortars seemed to be well 
within Chinese capacity to produce and one heard 


of the manufacture of some artillery, though the 
more usual type of field gun was captured from the 
Japanese and badly served. Airplanes (but not 
motors) were being produced on a small scale. 
But at best this production was hopelessly inade- 
quate and until conditions changed China must 
continue on an endless defensive that tried the 
native morale horribly, while at the same time put- 
ting a heavy strain upon the arrogant but worried 

Aside from furnishing recruits to the National 
Army, the provincial armies did garrison service at 
home. One heard complaints that in many districts 
these provincial armies were too numerous. But 
that was an ancient problem in China. So long as 
the local regime failed to win the confidence of 
the masses, the local rulers leaned for their support 
on provincial forces they obstinately but logically 
refused to sacrifice. 

Behind the provincial armies, often supplying 
them as they supplied the National forces, were 
"Able-bodied Youth" units, a sort of local militia 
dividing their time between public training service 
and everyday tasks. Militarily they were used only 
locally. Their presence nonetheless constituted a 
sort of guarantee that China's war strength would 
be indefinitely maintained so long as the arms sup- 
ply held out. There were a considerable number of 
women within their ranks. 

A final source of military strength, destined per- 


haps to become the most important of all as the war 
wore on, were the irregular or guerrilla bands. The 
Eighth Route Army, formerly communist, took the 
lead in organizing these, as in many other innova- 
tions and reforms. Realizing the latent possibilities 
of a patriotic peasantry, they everywhere appealed 
for cooperation to the population. Seeing their suc- 
cess, the National military authorities also organ- 
ized special schools for training guerrilla leaders, 
to which officers from every division were sent. 
When ready for action, these officers managed to 
take a small amount of military material and a 
handful of absolutely truthworthy men through the 
lines to the region assigned for their activity. Once 
on the spot they enlisted the inhabitants, often 
within the very cities or villages which the Japanese 
claimed to be holding. Indistinguishable by day 
from the bulk of the population, the bandsmen, 
assisted by old men, women and little children 
doing intelligence service, by night turned into 
ferocious raiders, murdering sentries, overwhelm- 
ing small posts, cutting telephone and telegraph 
wires, dynamiting railways tracks and bridges, 
worrying the Japanese in a hundred ways. When 
caught they were summarily executed or tortured 
and the villages that gave them shelter or assistance 
were cruelly punished. But so far from terrorizing, 
this brutality merely enraged and stimulated the 
guerrillas. It was amazing with what ease they 
passed from one side to the other of the fighting 


zone, preferably concentrating their activities on 
regions well behind the lines, right up to the houses 
of Peiping and Shanghai. As the lines lengthened 
and the guerrilla forces increased, the toll in dead 
taken from the Japanese rose steadily until it was 
estimated in June, 1938, by the Chinese Chief-of- 
Staff, General Pai (Pei) Hsung-chi, at over five 
hundred a day with no tendency to diminish. Prob- 
ably many more Japanese were killed behind the 
lines than in open battle. No wonder that there was 
a distinct decrease in morale on the part of the 
Japanese soldiery. Lured into the war by the prom- 
ise of a quick and easy victory, with plenty of 
plunder, they found themselves not only surrounded 
by a very numerous, lightly armed mobile enemy 
they could never somehow seem to draw into deci- 
sive battle, like terriers around a leopard, but by 
millions of hostile civilians strengthened by the 
guerrillas, who at the least opportunity turned into 
savage killers that gave the invaders neither peace 
nor rest nor quarter. 

Yet clearly the bulk of the resistance had to be 
made by the National Army under or cooperating 
with Chiang Kai-shek, and more or less trained by 
German military advisers who were more valuable 
in this field than in that of strategy, where their 
European conceptions were often unheeded by the 
Chinese. What was the military temper and value 
of this army? 

Strictly speaking it was not an army at all, and 


its successes were something of a surprise. In 1917 
the Americans, an active aggressive people trained 
in sport of all kinds, familiar with mechanics from 
babyhood and capable of spontaneous discipline, 
found that to turn a civilian into a mediocre soldier 
took six months; into a competent officer, at least a 
full year. In pacific China, without much mechan- 
ical experience and with no tradition of physical 
sport or combat, officers and men often received no 
more than three months' training. They remained, 
that is, merely armed civilians whose real military 
training was later obtained on the field of battle 
where incredibly heavy losses kept the number of 
veterans reduced to a nucleus. Add to this an insuffi- 
ciency in all equipment larger than hand grenades, 
but absolutely crushing in artillery, aviation and 
transport, and it was rather a wonder that the 
Chinese so-called armies could keep the field at all. 
Yet improperly clothed and cared for as they were, 
trotting on bare feet while the Japanese rode in 
trucks, the Chinese soldiers despite terrific losses 
not only stood fast but actually gained every day 
in military quality. 

Somehow the average Chinese soldier quickly 
acquired the impression that he was, despite his 
lack of mechanical support, man to man, quite a 
match for his adversary. He despised the Japanese 
anyway and looked forward to fighting him at close 
quarters with the ancient Chinese two-handed sword. 
Above all, he was never worn out, never impatient 


or bad humored, never downcast by insufficient 
food and shelter, and almost never afraid, though 
he soon learned a healthy respect for enemy air- 
planes, artillery and machineguns. Judged as 
human "material," the Chinese soldiers, despite 
susceptibility to sudden panic, were rated by all 
foreign experts as first class. 

Up to the rank of sergeant only: the general 
officers were quite another matter. The Generalis- 
simo demoted, cashiered and even shot them relent- 
lessly. Not that they often went over to the Japanese. 
But they frequently disobeyed or failed to execute 
orders, failed to cooperate with or deliberately 
deceived their Chinese colleagues, wasted their 
men in futile attacks when they should have retired 
or, more often, beat hasty retreats before quite 
insufficient enemy forces; not uncommonly they 
practiced self-protection at the expense of China 
and filled up their staffs rather with faithful retain- 
ers than with capable assistants. What could one 
expect? Some of them had been "war lords" or 
even bandit chiefs; others, semi-independent gov- 
ernors of provinces with a dislike of Chiang Kai- 
shek. Their primary aim was frequently to keep 
their own forces intact while using up those of their 
colleagues in order to hold trump cards for a pos- 
sible final show-down. This led to a "masterly 
inactivity" which, however successful in former 
military competitions (called wars) between rival 
Chinese military parasites, played into the hands 


of the Japanese. Even those generals who had re- 
ceived military training abroad or in the National 
War Colleges had never had the slightest oppor- 
tunity of witnessing real warfare; and hook knowl- 
edge was of little use in the complicated art of 
adapting one's tactics to getting the better of a more 
highly armed and trained adversary. Therefore the 
many failures, some of them tragic. Gradually, 
however, as in Spain, there arose in nearly every 
unit a small number of really competent leaders 
who gradually came to the places of responsibility. 
The officer corps was somewhat better than the 
generals, being for the most part younger and with 
a larger trained nucleus. Their weaknesses as field 
officers were: conceit that led them into over-esti- 
mating themselves and under-estimating the enemy; 
slap-dash bravery that led to ineffective slaughter 
of their men; inexperience that made for failure to 
deliver a decisive blow when it could be delivered ; 
or, sometimes, what has been called an over-devel- 
oped sense of self-preservation. All in all, unworthy 
of their men and deserving the rough treatment 
received at the hands of Chiang. Things being as 
they were, the Chinese were compelled to pit 
courage, numbers, knowledge of the ground and 
the cooperation of the population against the far 
higher cohesion and military technique of their 
enemy. These factors were more often than not 
ineffective against education, military tradition, 
technical education and above all vastly superior 


engines of war. On this account small mechanized 
columns of Japanese went practically wherever 
they liked, walking through the masses of cou- 
rageously struggling Chinese with relatively small 
losses, leaving the latter no alternative but hit-and- 
run tactics and long retreats. 

Fortunately for China, the Japanese army did 
not come up to expectations. The China campaign 
definitely cost it its place among ranking military 
machines. The men, well trained and brave, come 
of an ancient military race. But the generals en- 
gaged in costly rivalries; field officers thought more 
of keeping their swords polished to a mirror and 
boasting of the number of Chinese personally killed 
than of developing some new tactic adequate to the 
realities of the unexpected Chinese resistance. Fear- 
ful of becoming too heavily engaged in China, 
already aware of the danger of long-run economic 
struggle with the ultimately richer Chinese, Japan 
endeavored to break China's resistance with mani- 
festly inadequate forces. Japanese troops held the 
ground wherever they stood; they occupied the chief 
Chinese towns; they more or less maintained pre- 
cariously long communications along road and rail 
and river against constant and effective molestation. 
Their soldiers had been duped by promise of a 
pleasant military promenade with plenty of Chinese 
to plunder and abuse. Plunder and abuse them they 
did, but at a fearful risk of life. Had the million 
Chinese front-line fighters possessed the training 


and equipment of the Japanese or even of Chiang's 
original German-trained divisions, the Japanese, 
lacking heavy reinforcements, would have been 
swept back into the sea. As it was, holding the sea 
routes, with a virtual blockade of the Chinese coast, 
they were able to carry on an offensive that became 
each day more bloody, in the ever diminishing 
hope that some day they would succeed in dealing 
the blow that would "break China." Short of which 
decisive stroke, with the Chinese armies hardening 
under experience, with the war zone ever broaden- 
ing and the lines of communication getting ever 
longer, the best the Japanese could hope for was 
to "occupy" China in view of future economic ex- 
ploitation. "Occupy" a great section of it they did 
on the map. But they "occupied" it about as effec- 
tively as a few swimmers can be said to "occupy" 
a swimming pool: they went, that is, virtually where 
they pleased on condition of making the requisite 
effort. But even when they were going ahead fast- 
est, the waters were closing in behind, relentlessly 
obliterating all but a foamy track in the wake of 
the advance. 


JIU-JITSU is a form of wrestling, the essential 
of which is to yield to the adversary's muscular 
effort in order that he may overreach himself and 
bring about his own undoing. The Japanese are said 
to have invented it. But one could not long watch 
the Japanese invasion of China without coming to 
the conclusion that here again the Japanese were 
mere imitators. For the entire Chinese defense was 
primarily an application of military jiu-jitsu. Lack- 
ing a proper army of sufficient size, the Chinese had 
to reckon with the frequently demonstrated fact that 
a heavily armed Japanese column could, within a 
certain radius, go anywhere it chose, provided the 
general was ready to pay the price in human lives. 
Thanks to the adoption of jiu-jitsu tactics, in spite 
of an almost uninterrupted series of Japanese vic : 
tories, the Chinese in a certain negative way man- 
aged to impose their type of warfare upon the in- 

Russia has several times been saved from con- 
quest and ultimate defeat less by the Russian mili- 
tary forces than by their allies, Admiral Frost and 
General Distance. China never had much of a navy; 
and it is on the whole a warm country with severe 



cold only in the north. But even without Tibet, Mon- 
golia, Turkestan and other areas claimed but not 
really in possession of the Chinese, China is a large 
country. If superimposed in its own latitude upon 
the United States, it would extend roughly from the 
State of Maine to Mexico City and from the Atlantic 
to the Rocky Mountains. This extension must be 
kept well in mind in judging any claims of the Japa- 
nese to have "occupied 9 * China. In the first year of 
the war, the Japanese, at the greatest estimates, 
never had more than seven or eight hundred thou- 
sand men at any one time in China south of Man- 
churia. Could one imagine a foreign army, however 
well equipped with transport, occupying the United 
States with a million men? They would be driven 
out by the population with golf sticks and shotguns. 
The Chinese are less combative than the Americans 
but there are well over four hundred million of 

The inside story or history of this war could 
not be ascertained or written while it was in prog- 
ress. But the outlines were at all times apparent. In 
the first place, the entire military initiative was and 
remained with the Japanese. It was the latter who, 
from stolen Manchuria, Jehol and Chahar, launched 
the initial attack upon China after creating the 
incident at the Marco Polo Bridge in July, 1937. It 
was the Japanese who almost immediately extended 
the zone of operations to Shanghai and the Yangtse 
Valley. It was the Japanese fleet that blockaded the 


entire Chinese coast and whose airmen scattered 
murder among the towns of Southern China. There- 
fore, it is perhaps most convenient to analyze the 
campaign in terms of successive Japanese political 
aims, never forgetting that the motives of the Japa- 
nese Government and of the army and navy oper- 
ating in China need not and did not necessarily 
coincide at all times. 

The first aim was simply to take over the five 
northernmost Chinese provinces, join them economi- 
cally to stolen Manchuria and conceivably use them 
subsequently as a base for an attack upon Soviet 
Russia, considered by Japanese imperialists and 
military men as an inevitable step in the fulfillment 
of Japan's manifest destiny. Here no serious diffi- 
culties were expected. The provinces are, with the 
exception of rocky Shansi and part of Shantung, 
entirely flat. They contain more railway lines than 
any other portion of the country. Why should the 
Chinese try to defend them any more than they had 
defended Manchuria? At most the Japanese needed 
only to overcome the local Chinese, whose leaders 
were hardly to be considered loyal to Chiang Kai- 
shek at Nanking. Then it only remained necessary 
to find the requisite number of corrupt or traitorous 
Chinese, constitute them into Jap-dominated "pup- 
pet" governments propped on Japanese bayonets 
and mercenary forces, as in Manchuria, and set 
about profitable economic exploitation. To avoid the 
least possibility of unpleasant surprise, it was con- 


sidered prudent to seize the communications be- 
tween Northern China and the Soviets across Inner 

The Chinese Central Government's decision to 
defend the provinces was a political bombshell be- 
cause none in Tokyo had expected Chiang to fight. 
Yet to many it was a welcome bombshell for it gave 
the Japanese Army the awaited opportunity of set- 
tling China's affairs, not gradually, as had been 
foreseen, but all pt once. Militarily, Chiang's deci- 
sion did not immediately change the situation. The 
Japanese forces seized Peiping and occupied the 
road and the railway to Russia; they advanced 
southward through Shantung and poured southwest- 
ward into rich Shansi, the site of most of the coveted 
mineral wealth, as far as the Yellow River, almost 
succeeding in crossing and cutting the Lunghai, the 
only east-west Chinese railway, just south of it. 
The Lunghai Railway was the near end of the only 
remaining connection between China and Soviet 
Turkestan. The northern Chinese railways were 
like the points of a trident of which the Lunghai was 
the base and the extension of the Pinghan (or mid- 
dle point) southward to Hankow and Canton, the 
handle. The Japanese Army was if anything over- 
mechanized for the territory on which it operated; 
the invaders found it inexpedient to go far from 
the railways and good roads. Occupying China took 
the form of stretching a few clotheslines across a 
yard. But though the stretching was easy, the pro- 


tecting was a problem, while between the lines the 
Chinese never ceased to come and go almost at will. 

A Provisional Government was set up in Peking, 
renamed Peiping, or Northern Capital, to give it 
prestige; and within a short while the enforced traf- 
fic in narcotics, in which the Japanese had for a 
long time been specialized, was flourishing. The 
hitch came in finding proper puppets: the moral 
quality of the Chinese who consented to serve the 
invaders was so low that their influence in inducing 
the Chinese masses to accept Japanese rule was 
negligible. Nonetheless, some persons were found. 
Nominally, at least, the primary Japanese aim was 
realized with relative facility and had the Japanese 
stopped there and dug in, the Chinese could prob- 
ably no more have thrown them out than they could 
from Manchuria beyond. Sooner or later such an 
occupation behind barbed wire was almost bound to 
become effective and even profitable. 

Stopping, however, entailed a serious risk. Low 
as the Japanese leaders estimated the Chinese, they 
could not but realize that Chinese unity was virtu- 
ally accomplished, that Chinese industrialization 
was going ahead apace and that the improvement in 
quality of the Chinese National Army under Ger- 
man tutelage was disquietingly rapid. Were China 
given a few more years for increasing its industrial 
equipment, enlarging and modernizing its army, 
educating and f anaticizing its population, the result 
could be very unpleasant for Japan. After all, why 



be satisfied with the mere seizure of the provinces? 
South of the Yellow River lay the Yangtse Valley, 
the richest part of China, with the capital, Nanking, 
and rich cosmopolitan Shanghai. Why be satisfied 
with less than the best? 


In the absence of precise information, one need 
only note that the requisite second "incident" al- 
most immediately occurred at Shanghai, and Japan 
launched a campaign of further conquest. 


A large Japanese army landed at Shanghai* 
Tokyo emitted a declaration to the effect that Japan 
refused to have any more dealings with scoundrels 
like Chiang Kai-shek who "refused Japan's prof- 
fered hand of friendship/ 9 and the Japanese navy 
initiated a series of outrages against foreigners des- 
tined to convince the Chinese that they had nothing 
to hope from the Westerners. This meant adding a 
second aim to the first The war entered another 
phase. The new purpose was called "bringing China 
to its knees." Japanese rulers considered they had 
every right to expect immediate Chinese capitula- 
tion, since Japanese troops had long proclaimed 
their own invincibility. 

Then came surprise number two. Chiang Kai- 
shek and his colleagues not only "refused to be 
toads"; but the crack troops of the Chinese Na- 
tional Army for three months stood up against a 
magnificently equipped, though smaller, attacking 
force and in the end were driven from their posi- 
tions only by a flanking movement which any trained 
lieutenant might have forestalled. Militarily this 
defense of Shanghai to the bitter end was conceiva- 
bly an error on the part of the Generalissimo, who 
might have done better to keep his best divisions 
relatively intact. For it was demonstrated that in 
the absence of competent officers, not even the best 
Chinese were yet able to stand up and win in 
pitched battle against a modern army. When the 
Shanghai defenses finally collapsed, China was 


groggy and total defeat seemed not far away. Yet 
the effect of the Shanghai defense upon the Chinese 
soldiers was psychologically magnificent. While 
foreigners left Shanghai at the turn of the year with 
the impression that China was finished, inside the 
country men remembered only that the Japanese 
were anything but invincible and that in all cir- 
cumstances, where superior equipment did not have 
the decisive word, the Chinese could be a match for 

Meanwhile Nanking fell almost without defense 
despite the years of care lavished upon its mili- 
tary preparations. Chiang Kai-shek, thoroughly 
alarmed, thought of creating a complete void be- 
fore his adversaries and of retiring far into the 
hilly west. It was fortunate for China that his Ger- 
man military advisers dissuaded him. For the Chi- 
nese people were not yet as thoroughly aroused and 
steeled for combat as they later became. The im- 
mediate evacuation of the middle Yangtse Valley 
might have broken their faith in Chiang altogether. 

Over-confident or over-nervous, the Japanese 
failed to follow up their advantage. Then, if ever, 
was the time for taking Hankow by a swift blow and 
really "bringing China to its knees. 5 ' The invaders 
stopped to plunder and dally. Grinning sardonically 
over this error of Japanese generalship, the German 
advisers under General Alexander von Falken- 
hausen were able to persuade Chiang not to go too 
fast or too far, and to reestablish his headquarters 



provisionally in the important Wuhan trio of cities, 
on the railway from Peiping to Canton, at the 
junction of the River Han with the Yangtse and 
astride the latter. 

* Japanese ocdupafion 
Jaf troop movement 
inese trvqpconverttrj* 
*" nn 


Falkenhausen went further: he persuaded Chiang 
to try a diversion. Instead of retiring with his beaten 
forces on the Hankow defense line, the Generalis- 
simo sent them due north along the Tsinpu Railway, 


the easternmost of the points of the trident, to 
where it met the Lunghai crossbar at Suchow. The 
Japanese forces were divided into two parts oper- 
ating independently with no real communication 
between them. So long as the Chinese were at 
Suchow, none could be established between the 
army in the five provinces and the Shanghai Expe- 
ditionary Force. Conceivably none was necessary, 
for each force was strong enough in itself. Had the 
Shanghai army marched straight on Hankow it 
might have taken it in short order and divided the 
Chinese forces. Instead, while the navy was estab- 
lishing the semblance of a blockade along the 
Chinese coast, and seizing the useless island of 
Amoy, the Japanese army followed the Chinese to 
Suchow. This meant withdrawing forces from 
Shansi and moving the Shanghai army, not west- 
ward, but northward. It took time. While the Japa- 
nese were concentrating these forces, the Chinese 
gained the morally important minor victory of 
Taierhchwang. When Suchow finally fell, the Japa- 
nese captured some valuable rolling stock but the 
main Chinese army, under the Kwangsi General Li 
Tsung-yin, escaped on foot eastward from the mo- 
torized Japanese and then boldly recrossed the 
Japanese lines to join the rest of the Chinese forces 
in a retreat westward along and to the south of the 
Lunghai Railway. 

As though hypnotized by their adversary, the 
exasperated Japanese followed them up closely. The 


Chinese evacuated Kweiteh, Lanfeng and Kaifeng 
almost without fighting; but when the now trium- 
phant Japanese reached the strategic spot near 
Chungmow, the Chinese stopped them by dyna- 
miting the Yellow River dykes and releasing its 
flood waters over a vast area. 

Meanwhile they had successfully organized guer- 
rilla warfare throughout the entire country, espe- 
cially behind the Japanese armies and along their 
lines of communication. Japanese losses were ac- 
cordingly rising. As estimated by the Chinese, in 
the first year of warfare they amounted to just over 
a hundred thousand killed and three hundred thou- 
sand wounded, without counting deaths from illness, 
which were beginning to count. The Chinese had of 
course lost many times these numbers but consid- 
ered that they had them to spare. More important 
to them was the fact that the proportion was slowly 
improving in their favor. "Whereas at the beginning 
the Chinese lost four and five men to Japan's one, 
by the second summer the proportion had descended 
to five to two. Japanese losses in killed alone had 
reached a rate that, if continued, would amount to 
a quarter of a million a year. 

During this period of the war Chinese tactics 
underwent partial modification. The generals still 
clung to some conception of modern warfare with 
trench defense of strategic points and an attempt to 
overcome and wipe out weak Japanese garrisons by 
quick concentrations. But they began to rely more 


and more on hit-and-run methods reenforced by 
intensified guerrilla raids. This was described to 
the writer (June, 1938) by the Chinese Chief-of- 
Staff, General Pai (Pei) Hsung-chi as follows: 

"Diametrically opposed to Japan's strategy of 
quick and decisive battles is our supreme strategy 
of prolonged and enduring warfare, while in point 
of war tactics we emphasize mainly mobile fighting 
and guerrilla activities. So the capture or fall of a 
Chinese city, or the victory or defeat in a battle or 
two, does not have much influence on the war situa- 
tion. Besides, except for the few points and lines 
captured, the enemy troops are entirely enveloped 
by our militiamen and troops who still hold the 
greater part of the invaded territory. Thus we are 
engaged in a long-drawn-out war of attrition* We 
are, so to speak, engaged in buying time by yielding 
space, meaning our territory, and the accumulation 
of many small victories can amount to one great 
triumph. We are calmly waiting the opportunity 
to deal our enemy a decisive and final blow, and 
what is more, from now on, the chief theater of 
war will be shifted from the plains to hilly and 
swampy places where the efficiency of the Japanese 
mechanized forces will be much reduced. . . ." 

This I took to mean as follows: though the 
Chinese might have put up a better fight along the 
Lunghai Railway, they had decided to withdraw 
from the major communications as well as from 
the plains and, after lengthening the war fronts and 


the lines of Japanese communications, settle down 
to a test of military., economic and financial endur- 
ance while always hoping for a "diplomatic break," 
as T. V. Soong put it. 

Thwarted in the north by the Yellow River 
August flood-water, the Japanese still persisted in 
the idea of breaking the Chinese morale by taking 
Hankow, and then speedily terminating the war. 
Once more they assembled their forces and struck. 
The main advance was along the Yangtse River 
itself, an obstacle but a precious artery to the army 
backed by ships. 

The northeast fif th or sixth of China, as far south 
as the Yangtse River, is low. Hankow lies near the 
southwest corner of the plain. But it is defended 
against an enemy coming from the north or east by 
a range of hills beginning at the spur called Lung 
Shan, 'a hundred and fifty miles east of Hankow 
and not far from Anking on the Yangtse, and 
stretching vaguely northwestward along the border 
of Hupei Province, crossing the Pinghan Railway 
at Kikungshan, following over Fu-niu Shan hills 
in Honan and thence northwest to the Lunghai Rail- 
way and rough Shansi. Except for the area north- 
east of Kikungshan, which is full of rice fields 
devilishly hard to navigate at any time, and for 
the narrow gap between Lung Shan Hills and the 
Yangtse, and for the lake district south of the 
Yangtse, this is all hilly country. To attack Hankow 
on such a front, the Japanese needed not less than 



fifteen divisions. At the same time they pushed a 
secondary offensive from Shansi southward, hop- 
ing to cross the Yellow River at the hend near 


Puchow, and cut the Lunghai Railway somewhere 
around Sian. For Sian lies on the way to Lanchow 
and it was through Lanchow that the bulk of Rus- 
sian war material was reaching China along the 


tremendous caravan route from Turkestan. The 
seizure of Sian would virtually cut off the main 
body of Chinese soldiers around Hankow from the 
communist and other armies in the northwest, since 
roads through the western hills are few and far 
between. If the Japanese could advance far enough 
westward, as far as or beyond the end of the 
Lunghai Railway, they might even cut off the Rus- 
sians from the almost isolated province of Szech- 
wan, one of Chiang Kai-shek's ultimate and pre- 
sumably impregnable strongholds. 

The taking of Hankow was announced by the 
Japanese in May as "a matter of weeks." The as- 
sailants advanced astride the Yangtse. This was not 
without its inconveniences for the river is a formid- 
able barrier, unspanned by a single bridge along 
its course. At Hankow, six hundred miles from its 
mouth, it is well over a mile wide with an average 
volume of water of a million cubic feet per second 
(the volume of the Thames at its mouth is twenty- 
five hundred feet per second). But its very size 
made it a main traffic artery to the nation possessing 
the fleet. Despite the loss of many smaller warships 
and transports, the Japanese took Anking and 
slowly moved up the river, though impeded by the 
usual August floods which overflowed the banks 
for several miles on each side. In the course of the 
campaign the summer wore away and September 
found the assailants still a hundred miles from 
Hankow. Yet with the end of summer the floods 


subsided. If the Japanese continued their efforts, 
the ultimate capture of Hankow was, barring sur- 
prises, a foregone conclusion. 1 In July the Chinese 
Foreign Office followed the Supreme Court and 
other non-military bodies to Chungking, far up the 
river, taking most of the Diplomatic Corps with it. 
Chiang Kai-shek had long since discounted the fall 
of Hankow and made his preparations accordingly. 
But what had he to look forward to afterwards? 

There was really no choice. Hankow lost, the 
Generalissimo simply must, unless cut off, retreat 
with the bulk of his army southward along the rail- 
way in the direction of Hong Kong, the only re- 
maining port of entry for his war supplies. 

In rocky Kwangtung and Kwangsi and Kweichow 
Chiang's same guerrilla tactics could be terribly 
effective. A twelve or fifteen hundred mile front 
stretching north from Hong Kong to the Desert of 
Gobi would severely try the resources of even the 
mightiest army; and Kwangtung, Kwangsi, Kwei- 
chow and Shensi provinces were difficult, Yunnan 
to the extreme southwest and Szechwan to the west 
were really impregnable, if defended. 

Bring out a physical map of Asia. In the very 
middle, the gigantic Himalaya lies like a monstrous 
beetle. Its head is toward the east and within a pair 
of rugged pincers it embraces a chunk of the 
Chinese plain Szechwan Province, fertile, abound- 

1 Japanese forces occupied Canton on Oct. 21, 1938 and 
Hankow on Oct. 25, 1938. Ed. 


Ing in mineral wealth and with its sixty or seventy 
million inhabitants capable of becoming a whole 
country in itself, if properly exploited. Until fairly 
recent years nothing pierced those pincer-like ranges 
of mountains that protect, indeed, but at the cost 
of isolating, this remote section. Nothing, that is, 
but the irresistible pressure of the Yangtse. Pulling 
itself tightly together into a torrent only a few hun- 
dred yards wide, the great stream literally forces 
a passage between the pincer tips, dropping over 
five hundred feet in three hundred and fifty miles, 
and digging a channel in some places fifteen hun- 
dred feet deep and not unlike the Grand Canyon 
of the Colorado the Yangtse gorges. Seemingly 
almost impassable, these gorges nonetheless con- 
stitute the gate, and until recently, the only gate to 
Szechwan and the eastern marches of Tibet. From 
time immemorial, Chinese boatmen have managed 
to scrape out a crazy tow-path in the cliffs and, in 
the course of a few weeks, to drag their sampans 
up through the wild rapids. Modern steamers make 
the trip upstream from Hankow, some seven hun- 
dred and fifty miles, in about a week, depending 
on the season, for within the gorges a rise of a 
hundred feet in the river level is not unusual after 
heavy rains or when in late summer the melting 
Himalaya snow pours down to the plain. Fifty 
miles above the pincers, at the eastern tip of Szech- 
wan, lies Chungking, the "great city" of Western 
China, a commercial center open to foreign trade 


since 1891, which Chiang had elected as his new 
capital. A more impregnable stronghold could 
hardly be conceived. 

What would Japan do after the capture of 
Hankow? The pursuit of Chiang southward through 
the southern hills might be a long affair, lasting 
perhaps all through the mild winter and costing 
another fifty thousand men. To fit out a new Expedi- 
tionary Force, land it somewhere on the coast of 
South China, advance inward and take rich Hong 
Kong with the aid of the navy, thus cutting the 
Chinese army off from Hong Kong and its base of 
foreign supplies, might be even more difficult and 
involve political complications, besides, with the 
British and conceivably with the French as well, 
neither of whom wished to see Japan installed so 
close to their own possessions further south. To 
stop with the possession of Hankow, proclaiming 
that China was defeated, might for a time deceive 
the Japanese masses. But substantially it would be 
an acceptance of the Chinese insistence on a "war 
of attrition." From the beginning, the thought of 
such a war, granted the growing power and hostility 
of the Soviets, had been a nightmare to the Japanese 
leaders. In the silent struggle with the Russians for 
Chungfeng, on the Manchurian frontier, the Japa- 
nese had finally given in simply because they were 
up to their ears in China. But they began to realize 
they might have to settle down to a long straggle. 
To prepare the Japanese people, they began cau- 


tiously to mention a new and third war aim. Since 
after the fall of Hankow or that of Canton, "war of 
attrition" there would be, they decided to call it 
"ruining China." This was plausible enough, since 
most of the developed Chinese resources lay to the 
east of the Canton-Hankow Railway more or less 
at the mercy of Japan. This entirely suited the 
Japanese industrialists, who were in a sweat over 
the recent emergence of Chinese export industries 
that could cut under the Japanese industries just 
as the latter were underselling the Western world, 
namely thanks to cheaper labor. Already the war 
had cost Japan dear in the shape of lost commercial 
outlets. From the beginning, the wholesale destruc- 
tion of Chinese factories had gone along with the 
systematic bombing of Chinese schools and uni- 
versities and an intensification of the narcotic cam- 
paign. For China was to be reduced economically 
and intellectually to the status of a full colony. 

But could China so easily be ruined? If left in 
possession of Canton and the southlands, probably 
not. For in that case, thanks to ever fresh supplies 
of arms, the Chinese would be constantly on the 
offensive. The very existence, or at least the profit- 
able functioning, of puppet governments in the 
occupied provinces, thanks to which alone the Japa- 
nese could hold and exploit China, would be made 
virtually impossible. Without traitorous Chinese 
as auxiliaries, the Japanese simply could not con- 
trol so much territory. But the number of traitors 


available would depend upon the general feeling. 
If the Chinese began to believe Chiang's situation 
hopeless, they might well rally, for a consideration 
to the Japanese. If, to the contrary, Chiang remained 
active, his troops well armed and full of ardor, 
then popular patriotism would continue high and 
the number of traitors be correspondingly low. 

Even without the seaboard province, even after 
the loss of Canton, the Chinese armies would remain 
undestroyed. What could they do, operating from 
the hills in the more backward part of the country? 
This was a question that could best be answered in 
Europe. It depended upon France and England, 
the democratic powers whose territories and pre- 
dominant influence in the Far East the Japanese 
were determined to inherit. It depended upon Ger- 
many and Italy, Japan's partners in the anti-com- 
munist front whose title had been chosen to hide 
its real nature as "Highwaymen's Alliance." For 
as the months passed, the original British and 
French fear of the Japanese diminished rapidly. 
The British had flatly refused to close Hong Kong 
to the passage of war material for China. They had 
cooperated with the Chinese in making the old 
Burma track from Kunming into a paved highway. 
The French, originally intimidated by Japan's big 
talk, were beginning to recover and open their nar- 
row gauge but invaluable Indo-China Railway to 
the passage of arms of French origin for China. 
Deprived of Hong Kong, Chiang, once his reserves 


were exhausted, would be dependent upon what he 
could receive via Indo-China, via Burma and via 
the caravan trail from Soviet Turkestan. How far 
would Britain and France go in seeing that he got 
all he needed? They did not want the Japanese in 
the southwest: could not that be made the subject 
for a little bargain between Tokyo on one side, 
London and Paris on the other? The Japanese could 
promise not to advance westward of Canton and 
Hankow if the Western democracies would promise 
not to feed Chiang with enough arms to allow him 
to take the offensive or continue his murderous guer- 
rilla warfare throughout the "occupied" territories. 
Would London and Paris accept? If they aided 
Chiang, he could carry on to the exhaustion of 
Japan. Would they aid him? It might depend upon 
Germany and Italy. And upon Germany too de- 
volved the role of preventing the self-confident 
Russians from gradually increasing their assistance 
to China to the point where it would amount to an 
undeclared war. Without the German threat to the 
Bolsheviks, Tokyo well knew, the Russians would 
before long have thrown their gigantic weight into 
the Chinese balance in an effort to finish with Japan 
once and for all. 

And the United States, chief source of Japan's 
indispensable imports of iron and petroleum and 
other things like airplanes? How long would an 
indignant American public permit its manufac- 
turers and merchants to permit an hostile power to 


destroy a friend? Would popular outcry eventually 
compel President Roosevelt to take definite steps in 
favor of China? A real boycott of Japanese products 
in the United States, an embargo on certain Amer- 
ican products to Japan, could perhaps let China 
win. It was endlessly difficult trying to dominate 
and conquer the world from a couple of two-by-four 
islands. And it was all very complicated. . . . 

It took a brave man to hazard a bet on the out- 
come of the struggle so lightly engaged upon by 
the blithe Japanese generals. But in the Far East 
most bettors were offering even money on China. 
For Japan, they said, was in danger of having to 
modify its aim for the third time. Aim number four 
might, in the opinion of experienced foreigners, be 
the saving of the Japanese army's prestige and 
supremacy already lost abroad within Japan 
itself. Unless this proved possible, social transfor- 
mation might easily result and the China war have 
served not to enslave but to liberate a people. 



THE square at Chengtu was buzzing. Perhaps 
five hundred men, with a sprinkling of women 
and children, had crowded around a wooden plat- 
form facing the square with the green park behind 
it. Rain had fallen, and the naked ground was oozy 
with mud puddles, but the crowd sloshed in and out 
of them with indifference, so attentive they were to 
what was proceeding on the platform. Voices rose 

My friend Victor Hu, educated in Paris, attached 
to the Civil Government of the Province of Szeeh- 
wan, took my arm and urged me forward. But be- 
fore we got close enough to see or hear much, the 
proceedings stopped and instead there went up 
from the crowd a roar of approval: "Hao, hao! 
(good, good) ," which one may hear in any popular 
Chinese theater. 

"Too late," said Victor Hu. "We missed the 

"What was it?" 

"It is called The Death of General Wang Sze- 
chung at Tientsin, a well known educational play." 

"And who are the players?" 

"High-school student propagandists. They travel 


all over the country and by their rather simple 
spectacles arouse the patriotism of the people and 
their indignation against the Japanese. There are a 
good many of these little theatrical troupes." 
"What a pity we missed it." 
"Wait. We shall see something else." 
Foreigners in Chengtu are moderately uncom- 
mon: the crowd obligingly parted to allow us places 
near the platform. A student in his ordinary clothes, 
the "intensely visible property man" of classical 
Chinese drama, placed two chairs and a small 
lateral screen on the platform before a plain cur- 
tain. And the play began. 

Old John Chinaman, with more whiskers than 
most of his countrymen can boast of, cloth slippers 
on his feet, metal water-pipe in his mouth, was 
seated in his armchair, peacefully enjoying domes- 
tic life as his ancestors had done for four thousand 
years before him. Around him was his family: 
Young John, a sturdy but timid-looking youth in 
Occidental dress, and three daughters, all pretty 
girls wearing ordinary modernized Chinese street 
clothes. But each of the girls wore on her back a 
label. The first said "Jehol," meaning the northern 
province; the second read "Peiping," and the third, 
"the rest of China." 

From behind the screen came unpleasant laugh- 
ter, at which the happy family was only momen- 
tarily disturbed. Then a face followed the laughter, 
a swarthy face with an un-Chinese, Charlie Chaplin- 


Adolf Hitler mustache. More laughter, self-satis- 
fied, diabolic. And out stepped a sort of Mephis- 
topheles in a kimono: Japan! Japan seized daughter 
Jehol and dragged her screaming behind the screen 
while the old man and his remaining children 
looked on as if paralyzed. 

He returned in a moment and repeated the same 
scene with daughter Peiping, save that there was 
some active resistance from Young John. When, 
however, Japan finally laid hands on "the rest of 
China," Sonny rolled up his sleeves and, with the 
assistance of his father and sister, they downed 
insolent Nippon and proceeded to kick him sense- 

Which ended the play. And the crowd bellowed 
with delight. The actors, none of whom was over 
nineteen, began packing their entire kit into a 
tiny suitcase, ready to move on. For this was a 
fraction of the Theatrical Troupe for the Promotion 
of Resistance, organized by the famous Mass Edu- 
cation Movement which was founded as far back 
as 1923 for the purpose of transforming China. All 
over China, such student players were coming and 
going. Their aim was well described in a propa- 
ganda pamphlet issued by the China Information 
Committee in Hankow: 

"National defence has its invisible as well as its visible 
aspects. . . . The willingness and ability on the part of 
the general public to participate in the national defence 


programme, whenever such participation is called for, 
constitute the invisible aspect." 

The "invisible aspect" soon became the most 
visible thing in warring China. From Canton to the 
Yellow River, from Kiu-kiang and Yenan to Lan- 
chowfu and distant Kunming, everywhere travel- 
ers reported unceasing propaganda, most of it 
visual. A nation that still cherishes handwriting as 
one of the highest arts easily takes to slogans 
stretched on banners across whole streets. But in 
addition, there were hundreds and hundreds of 
wall pictures imparting patriotism and the brutal- 
ity of the Japanese (some of them so crudely real- 
istic that they made me start). Every flat surface 
bore some kind of poster. Furthermore, portraits 
of national symbols like Dr. Sun Yat-sen and Gen- 
eralissimo Chiang Kai-shek, who had become the 
incarnation of Chinese resistance to Japan, peered 
at one from thousands and thousands of copies. 
There was not an office, hardly a public place where 
one was not confronted with something. The artistic 
quality was generally pretty high: why should it 
not be, when the finest painters, cartoonists, callig- 
raphers, wood engravers and photographers had 
dropped their usual tasks and turned to boosting 
the national morale? 

Patriotic movies were being shown in every city: 
I saw only one of them and did not feel tempted to 
see any more. But the effectiveness of the insistence 
on atrocity toward men, women and children was 


undoubted. The plays were distinctly better: mostly 
classical revivals of drama from the heroic period, 
with Chinese emperors and heroes chasing wicked 
Koreans and Mongols and Manchus half across the 
map, or getting beaten and being saved by heroic 
women who were ready at the drop of the hat to 
take command of the national armies or to drive a 
knife into the bowels of a tyrant. 

Then for the ears there was the constant appeal 
of song: nowhere did I ever hear so much patriotic 
singing as in the various Chinese organizations. 
The soldiers sang, the women sang, putting into the 
new war tunes a fervor that their unfamiliarity 
with the increasingly popular Occidental harmonies 
distinctly sharpened. 

Pamphlets, newspapers, war books, lectures be- 
fore gigantic audiences, dinned into the people the 
great lesson: in the fight for national existence, only 
the cooperation of all could save China from the 
unspeakable Japanese whose treatment of Chinese 
soldiers and women was so uncompromisingly 
portrayed. To an extent almost incredible to skep- 
tical foreigners, this cooperation was being given. 

Obviously the greatest propagandists were the 
Japanese themselves. Whatever tendency there 
might have been at the beginning on the part of 
rich or corrupt Chinese to pact with the invaders, 
was rapidly dissipated by the crude brutality of 
the Japanese soldiery and the complacent tolerance 
of murder, plundering and rape by Japanese offi- 


cers of presumed culture. Instead of remaining to 
serve the new masters, large sections of the Chinese 
population, after a few such object lessons as the 
scenes that followed the Japanese capture of Nan- 
king, simply moved out with family, bag and bag- 
gage. These refugees, uncounted but millions 
strong, were gradually eased along into the south 
and west. Each runaway individual became a viru- 
lent center of anti-Japanese feeling. 

But an immense amount was being accomplished 
by deliberate effort* Delicate mandarins, hitherto 
scornful of the masses, possessed of a philosophic 
calm that made them superior to mundane events, 
suddenly felt something new stirring within their 
silken-clad breasts, something that resembled 
strange but incontrovertible! patriotism of the 
vulgar. In speaking of the Japanese, their cultivated 
singsong voices tended to quaver or rise to an 
unseemly pitch. 

One after another, all the existing organizations 
threw themselves deliberately into propaganda 
work. The best prepared was the Mass Education 
Movement of Dr. Y. C. James Yen, whom experi- 
ence as a Y.M.C.A. man with the Chinese coolies 
in France during the World War had made an 
everlasting friend of the common man. For many 
years, Yen and his friends centered their efforts 
on educating the farmers, who comprise at least 
eighty per cent of China's vast population. They 
believed that New China could only perpetuate 


itself and triumph, if it became the faith and out- 
look of the swarming masses. But China was the 
center of world inertia : many of the educated and 
upper-class leaders wanted nothing so little as 
mass education, fearing that it might create pres- 
sure for social and economic reform. Progress was 
slow until July 7, 1937, date of the "incident" at 
the Marco Polo Bridge. After that, the Mass Educa- 
tion Movement went ahead by leaps, for if China 
was to resist invasion successfully, it was necessary 
for the government to levy huge armies from the 
masses and to impose suffering upon the entire 
population. For these armies to fight and these 
masses to suffer willingly, they had to feel them- 
selves a people. To feel themselves a people, they 
had to be educated and ultimately to be given a 
stake in the community. 

Dr. Yen organized a Campaign of Farmers' Edu- 
cation for National Defense, and quickly grouped 
fifty young people of both sexes into six educational 
teams. Theatrical troupes followed; the publication 
of a War Series of People's Literature in simple 
language that any Chinese can understand; and 
finally, the ambitious plan to recruit a hundred 
thousand educators to train a million men. By this 
time, the Mass Education Movement was but one of 
several organizations specializing on keeping up 
the national morale in time of war. 

A second, perhaps even more important element 
in magnetizing the Chinese people and turning their 


passions against the Japanese, were the communists. 
Readers of the books of Edgar Snow and Agnes 
Smedley are familiar with the details. Whatever 
their responsibility for the anti-foreign outbreaks 
of 1925-27, whatever their ultimate political aims 
and ambitions, there is not the slightest doubt but 
that communist leaders like Chou En-lai and his 
friends not only saved the life of the Generalissimo 
when he was kidnaped in 1936, but led all other 
groups in making China nation-conscious. Foreign- 
ers who visited the communist stronghold in North- 
ern Shensi were unanimous in praising their na- 
tional, social and educational influence. After James 
Yen, but before the New Life leaders or the "rejuve- 
nated 9 * Kuomintang group, they taught personal 
honesty and austerity, cleanliness, decency, patriot- 
ism. They annulled ancient debt burdens and di- 
vided the lands among the peasants; they saw to it 
that interest rates of sixty to a hundred-and-twenty 
per cent vanished. They became an increasing center 
of attraction to idealists in Chinese youth. When 
the war with Japan, which they had long believed 
inevitable, finally came in their relatively small 
territory bordering on the Desert of Gobi, they 
became a dynamic center of resistance to aggres- 
sion. Dropping their practices of class war and 
confiscation of land, pulling the communist em- 
blems from their uniforms, their famous "Red 
Army" transformed into the Eighth Route Army, 
accepting faithfully the leadership of Chiang Kai- 


shek, the only human being who could hold China 
together, they threw themselves into the struggle 
with almost complete tolerance. A foreign news- 
paper correspondent at Yenan, the capital of "Red 
China,' 9 was amazed when, at a dinner with a group 
of Red Army commanders, he was suddenly asked : 

"Would you care to say grace?" 

As rulers, the communists favored the common 
people; as soldiers, they were among the best, 
largely owing to the complete trust of the popula- 
tion which supplied them with military informa- 
tion beyond the capacity of less social-minded 
Chinese leaders to extract; as propagandists, they 
became acknowledged models. Their "Anti- Japa- 
nese University," whose dormitories, like the 
dwellings of about a third of Yenan's population, 
were dug in the hillside immune to bombardment, 
drew no less than twenty-five hundred students, 
many of whom came on foot from the most remote 
parts of China. For Yenan is two hundred and thirty 
miles north of Sianfu, the capital of Shensi Prov- 
ince, and the journey even by motor truck over the 
wretched roads took from three to six days. But no 
such obstacles could dampen the enthusiasm of New 
China, whatever its political leanings. Yenan, that 
part cave, part walled medieval city, became an 
educational center of first importance and its value 
in arousing the Chinese masses against aggression 
can hardly be exaggerated. 


Few in numbers as they were, the communists 
unquestionably became national pace-makers. 

Last on the scene, but far more extensive and 
powerful in their scope, came the governmental 
authorities. Once they realized the need for war 
propaganda, they threw themselves into it with a 
will, spurred on by the calm determination of the 
Generalissimo and the burning energy of his wife. 
They speedily enlisted the cooperation of the pro- 
vincial authorities and set about in a big way 
making China patriotic. Perhaps the most effective 
instruments were the army, the Kuomintang or rul- 
ing Party organization, and the New Life Move- 

In a country virtually under military law, where 
nearly every provincial governor was, or was called, 
a "general," the army could sway the minds not 
only of the recruits but of the entire population, 
especially when working hand in hand with the 
Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Pub- 

The working of the ruling Party organization was 
less visible. But through its numerous ramifications, 
its somewhat devious affiliations, its ability to steer 
the secret organizations of which little is said, the 
Kuomintang unquestionably inspired a large sec- 
tion of the youth that was inaccessible to communist 
or to New Life Movement influences. 

How important was the New Life Movement in 
galvanizing Chinese resistance to aggressive Nip- 


pon? The Chinese themselves do not agree; foreign 
residents differ widely. To some of the latter, the 
entire New Life Movement, that peculiar mixture 
of Chinese traditionalism and Y.M.C.A. Christian- 
ity was a kind of hoax invented to offset communist 
influence and take the young people's minds off 
economic reform. To others, it was the most vital 
factor in modern China. Certainly, in so far as it 
received the personal backing of the Generalissimo 
and his family and the family supporters, it accom- 
plished a good deal. It was a New Life champion, 
Major-General J. L. Huang, onetime worker in 
Henry Ford's Detroit plants, who took charge of 
the distribution of cash bonuses to all the wounded 
soldiers in China. As director of what he called the 
War Area Service Corps, he also organized fac- 
tories for employing refugees, and began teaching 
patriotic songs to the unlettered by means of simple 
pictures. The cash bonus system unquestionably 
contributed to maintaining army morale. The Chi- 
nese lacked the means to care properly for their 
wounded. Transport simply could not be spared 
and gasoline was far too scarce to move many 
trucks and ambulances had they been available. 
But by giving a cash bonus of from ten to one 
hundred Chinese dollars to each wounded soldier, 
the Generalissimo and his helpers took the sufferer's 
mind off his personal woes and removed some of 
the sting from military conscription, a new and not 
always popular innovation in pacifist China. 


As for Madame Chiang Kai-shek, by her initia- 
tive in looking after refugees, by her activities in 
a dozen fields, by her incredible vitality and op- 
timism, she proved what an enormous influence in 
time of crisis a resolute individual can exert on 
the public mind. For, in traveling through the 
remoter parts of China, I was almost always asked 
three questions: Had I been in Hankow? Had I 
seen the Generalissimo? Had I talked with Madame 

It is difficult to estimate, but foolish to ignore, 
the importance of women in New China. They are 
certainly its most fascinating feature. Fascinating 
in the first instance by their appearance for, without 
a doubt, they are among the most graceful figures 
in the world. But beyond this, fascinating by their 
simple dignity and directness, and a sort of energy 
that seems to transcend that of the Chinese male. 
This superior energy was recognized, it seems, by 
the authors of much of the Chinese classical drama, 
which is full of amazingly independent ladies who 
as warriors, statesmen, mothers and wives, often 
came successfully to the rescue of their less efficient 

Yet, unquestionably, Chinese society remains 
preponderantly masculine. A foreigner can live for 
years among friendly male Chinese without ever 
meeting the female members of their families, and 
his feminine acquaintance, if he have any, may 
easily be confined to a few insipid sing-song girls. 


How much more delightful those pleasant, gas- 
tronomically overwhelming Chinese dinners could 
be made by the presence of a few seductive edu- 
cated women! But in traditional China, the very 
idea reeks of the immoral Occident. 

To Occidentals (and to many Chinese women as 
well) the Chinese woman seems traditionally to be 
the object of a veritable oppression. Though not 
exactly the victim of a harem system, she is almost 
as dependent as though she were. She goes about 
unveiled, visits her female friends and relatives, 
shops in the markets. But as a baby, her feet may 
have been deformed to the point of permanent 
lameness; she is supposed to give blind obedience, 
first to her parents, and then to her often polyga- 
mous husband; and had her parents been very 
poor, she might have been exposed as a suckling 
and never grown up at all. The position of the faith- 
ful wife-servant in The Good Earth may be inspir- 
ing, but it is doubtless better to read about than to 
fill. "Chinese women," one of them wrote me, 
"were, until recently, oppressed, especially in the 
more remote provinces." 

Some intelligent Chinese and a few foreigners 
emphatically deny this charge. "The mothers," they 
say, "are chiefly responsible for the continuation 
of the ancient system which they would do away 
with if they found it oppressive. It was not the men 
but the mothers who bound their baby daughters* 
feet and threw out excess female children to starve, 


or later sold them. In no country are the women as 
powerful as in China, This is a country literally 
ruled by old ladies." 

How explain the contradiction? Modem France 
demonstrates how important women can be without 
briefed rights. Can it be that under the old system, 
when China was virtually without any sort of 
respectable public life, when the family was the 
end and measure of all things, that the women were 
content to rule the country from within doors and 
through the men; whereas under later circum- 
stances, with private life reduced to an unimportant 
incident, they were forced more and more into the 
open in order to see to it that matters proceed to 
their liking? 

In any case the missionaries undoubtedly started 
a process of change. The students returning from 
abroad, both male and female, brought home new 
ideas of female dignity and duty. In many such 
student families, particularly in centers like Hong 
Kong and Shanghai, the social life was, by 1937, 
not unlike that in Western countries, notably in the 
United States. Foreign families were received at 
meals, unmarried girls were going to moving pic- 
tures and to parties, sometimes with young men; 
they dressed like Occidental girls, and their facial 
make-up and habits and social outlook were very 
similar. (In fact, a study in the relativity of aesthetic 
standards could be based on the following contrast: 
while Negro girls were going to any expense to have 


the kink taken out of their hair, graceful Chinese 
women with absolutely straight hair affected a sort 
of permanent wave that made it distinctly kinky. In 
both cases, the model was apparently the interna- 
tional movie star.) When married, they continued 
to claim an emancipation that was still a rare thing 
in the interior of China. The fact that most Chinese 
schools and universities were co-educational un- 
questionably encouraged change, although the num- 
ber of women students was much lower than that of 
the men. But the fact remains that until very re- 
cently the actual status of women remained far be- 
hind the theoretical equality they enjoyed in all 

It remained for the Japanese invasion to cause a 
very real and rapid change. Then suddenly a large 
number of Chinese women awoke to the national 
needs, and despite opposition from authorities, 
parents and relatives, set about fulfilling them. 

The Chinese were used to feminine influence in 
high places. At the outbreak of hostilities the 
country was dominated, some claimed, actually 
ruled, by the three Soong girls. As early as August 
1, 1937, Madame Chiang founded an Association 
of Chinese Women to Support the National Defense, 
which ramified into many sections throughout China 
and abroad. Its members collected money, clothes 
and medicine, looked after orphan children and 
refugees and needy families. In May, 1938, Ma- 
dame Chiang summoned a great meeting of im- 


portant women from all over China at Ruling, near 
Kiukiang (later occupied by the Japanese), and 
extended their activity to the organization of weav- 
ing and the stimulation of home industries to in- 
crease exports. 

In every large town, notably in Canton, girls of 
good family enrolled in first-aid groups whose 
members, in addition to helping air raid victims, 
read to the soldiers and wrote their letters for them. 
An entire battalion of five hundred Kwangsi girls 
was actually at the front, fighting under the com- 
mand of twenty-two year old Miss Tieh-sua, who 
successfully won her grades in action. I was struck 
by the numbers of girls visiting the front and sing- 
ing to the soldiers, the housewives who sewed and 
mended for them far from the battlefields; I met 
highly gifted women newspaper reporters in Han- 
kow and Chengtu, visited a training school for 
refugee student girls just outside Wuchang. Many 
of the latter had come long distances on foot from 
their ruined and captured universities or devastated 
homes, and were living without news of their fami- 
lies. In their plain uniforms and Spartan quarters, 
they looked the picture of a new determination. 

At Hankow, a number of prominent women had 
the kindness to receive me at tea, at which each of 
them outlined her particular work. Most of them 
were foreign educated, all were experienced and 
capable. One had been active in the Mass Education 
Movement, another was in charge of a large school, 


a third worked close to Madame Chiang in her 
many undertakings, a fourth in the Y.W.C.A. But 
the one with the most to tell was a communist from 
Northern Shensi. For to the Chinese communists,, 
opposition to Japanese aggression and the equality 
of women were two parts of a single dogma held 
and practiced like a religion. 

They began by giving the right to own property 
and economic protection to unmarried women. 
They made the father economically responsible for 
the children of his divorced wife or wives. Each 
failure to assume such responsibility was made a 
public scandal and utilized for educational pur- 
poses. The communists went in for mass education 
on an unprecedented scale with as many girls as 
boys, women as men. Miss Ting-ling, best known 
of China's women writers, organized the first war 
service corps for duty at the front. By the end of 
May, 1938, it had grown to over eight thousand 
members. There were laundry corps with nearly 
five thousand laundresses, sewing corps with six 
thousand seamstresses, a Red Cross corps with eight 
thousand five hundred nurses, special schools for 
adults, over ten thousand women in uniformed po- 
lice work, twenty-five hundred leaders of Girl 
Guides under eighteen, thirty-six thousand women 
organized to till uncultivated fields, reading classes 
in every village to teach the illiterate the indis- 
pensable few hundred characters. In the communist 
district, the women were actually working under 


fire, with and beside the men. The woman who told 
this story had never been outside of China and 
spoke no foreign language, whereas her companions 
were women of the world and returned students 
mostly of conservative political leanings. But they 
listened to her with the profound respect paid by 
the aspiring athlete to the champion. For outside 
Northern Shensi and the coast cities, feminism, it 
seemed to the writer, had barely more than touched 
the cheek of Chinese society. 

How shallow a movement women's emancipation 
yet represented became clear to me at Chengtu, the 
capital of isolated Szechwan Province, and at 
Kunming, the capital of remote Yunnan. At 
Chengtu, as soon as the war started, the "women of 
advanced ideas" organized an Association for War 
Support Against the Enemy, with numerous sec- 
tions: for direct aid to soldiers, for propaganda, 
for nursing, for patriotic singing, and the like. Nine 
months later, the Association managed to send to 
the front eleven young girls. "To awaken women 
still lost in their family dream" it began publish- 
ing a monthly review, the Women 9 s Voice, and tried 
to organize other associations for common work. 
But although new organizations sprang up in num- 
bers, the results were small. In other words, much 
talk and promises and flurry, small results, if one 
excepted the girl students' military training club. 
As one remarkably intelligent and politically 


awakened young woman described the situation for 
the writer: 

"Although there are so many women's associa- 
tions at Chengtu the results have not developed. The 
mass of the feminine population is backward and 
does not yet understand the war or participate in it. 
This is due to the lack of leaders and to the force 
of inertia in these women still under the influence 
of feudal ideas. But this situation cannot last. The 
feminist movement is developing from day to day 
following the extension and duration of the war. In 
face of the inhuman and barbarous acts of the Jap- 
anese (massacres, rapes, burnings), the women of 
Chengtu have arisen, like those in the rest of China. 
There are not only women's service corps, but young 
girls and women who are taking part in guerrilla 
warfare. Who can still say that Chinese women are 
backward? To defend their country and world 
peace, they are already active in the front line and, 
brave as the women of Spain, are struggling against 

Pretty Chu Zho-hwa must have known, for she 
was born and was living with her parents in 
Chengtu, and had studied abroad in Japan. New 
China was transforming Old China, even in Szech- 
wan, but the process had only begun to get under 

In Yunnan Province this action was moving even 
more slowly. Yunnan represented all that was tra- 
ditional in China, and deplored modern ideas. 


Yunnan protested against the "immoral modern 
habits" of the girl students who migrated to the 
province from the universities of the Chinese sea- 
board. The Governor of Yunnan, while I was in 
Kunming, forbade any more modern dancing (quite 
like a reactionary Western dictator) and actually 
prevented Madame King, the wife of one of China's 
most brilliant technical engineers, from attending 
the great meeting at Kuling at the invitation of 
Madame Chiang Kai-shek. Considering that this 
meeting was called to promote further women's 
assistance in winning the war, the governor's action 
showed a degree of conservatism rarely displayed 
even in the remote provinces. 

Yet even in Yunnan, feminism and nationalism 
proceeded hand in hand. And since the wave of 
nationalism was obviously irresistible, since New 
China was determined to resist the Japanese and 
transform and modernize the country regardless of 
expense and suffering, feminism seemed bound to 
triumph with it. After all, no less than seven thou- 
sand strapping young women of Yunnan volun- 
teered for service at the front, and after a long se- 
lective process, fifty-five of them actually got there, 
after a walk of several hundred miles and the mili- 
tant opposition of their parents. For their motto was : 
"War is no time to think of our families, sisters! 
Join the corps and serve the Army." 

Talking with young women like Chu Zho-hwa, 
reading of women infantry commanders at the front, 


I had the feeling that once the women were thor- 
oughly aroused, though China might be martyred, 
occupied and even exploited by the Japanese, it 
would take a very brave or a very foolish leader to 
suggest capitulation. 


IN 1932 George Sokolsky, advertised by his 
publishers as "the writer best qualified to know 
what is happening in China," expressed himself as 

The tale of China's struggle has not been pleasant 
writing, for the Chinese are individually a lovable peo- 
ple, yet collectively, in the present stage, they produce 
only the appearance of anarchy. 1 

It must be regarded as axiomatic that for many years 
to come China will be in a state of revolution and civil 
war. This civil war has become the normal process by 
which China is altering her political, economic and social 
system. 2 

The constant civil wars in China invite invasion and 
partition. But the civil wars will continue. 3 

Clearly Mr. Sokolsky expected the coming inva- 
sion and attempted partition of China by Japan. 
China's civil wars did indeed go on for another 
four years, until the end of 1936, when they 
abruptly stopped. The first half of the year 1937 
was a banner year for China. In the words of the 
American Commercial Attache, Julian Arnold: 

1 The Tinder Box of Asia, p. 52. 

2 Ibid., p. 293. 

3 Ibid., p. 317. 



China's financial stability was maintained, unification 
of the currency system advanced; China's credit strength- 
ened by the augmentation of gold reserves abroad. . . . 
Rice crop products, cotton and tung[wood] oil were 
excellent; up to the middle of July the general outlook 
for trade throughout the country was far more encourag- 
ing than at any time for some years past. 

What is more important, for the first time in Its 
history, China was able to borrow from the Western 
world without pledging its shirt 

In 1931 China's chances had also seemed bright, 
with everything ready for a vast plan of assistance 
in many fields by the League of Nations. Japan 
chose this moment to take Manchuria. 

In 1936 the last of the warring factions, the com- 
munists, made peace with Chiang Kai-shek. Six 
months later, Japan struck again. Was it because of 
civil wars and to bring "order," or for fear lest 
there be no more "disorder" as pretext for inter- 
ference, that Japan hastened an attack which, owing 
to the unexpected resistance of China, soon evolved 
into a full-fledged attempt to conquer the Celestial 

In any case, the Japanese invasion began by pro- 
ducing exactly the effect it was intended to fore- 
stall; namely, it united China as the country had 
not been united for God knows how long. With one 
exception Han Fu-chu, the Governor of Shantung, 
who was hanged by the Chinese not a single im- 
portant leader went over to the enemy or rebelled 


against the absolute leadership of Chiang Kai-shek. 
The few Chinese who consented to serve the Japa- 
nese by acting as members of "provisional" (pup- 
pet) governments or as agents for the diffusion of 
narcotics, the income from which the Japanese used 
to help finance the aggression, were of such small 
reputation that they carried no popular following in 
their wake. Some of them were assassinated by 
loyal Chinese with almost breathless speed; others 
sought the protection, not only of the Japanese con- 
querors, but of the foreign police in the concessions 
at Shanghai. It was the unanimous opinion of the 
foreign residents I met in China that the war had 
gone further to cement the unity of China than the 
twenty-five previous years of civil strife. 

The loss of cherished provinces, of the new capi- 
tal, Nanking, hardened the will to resistance. But 
resistance so patently depended on unity around the 
person of Chiang Kai-shek, that even those with the 
least love for the somewhat domineering leader 
publicly professed a hundred-per-cent loyalty to 
him. Nor must it be forgotten that inevitably the 
war process brought into places of authority more 
and more of the Western trained, anti-traditionalist, 
Chinese technicians who formed the kernel of the 
nationalist movement. 

In 1932 Mr. Sokolsky could close his book with 
the statement: "Chiang Kai-shek almost alone has 
grasped the essential struggle in China: it is be- 


tween nationalism and communism." 4 Obviously 
he did not foresee that in 1935 Stalin and Dimitroff 
would swing the Communist Internationale squarely 
behind democratic, nationalist movements wherever 
communist cooperation was acceptable, that a com- 
munist reconciliation with Chiang would be 1936*s 
Christmas present to China, or that communists 
and conservative Kuomintang leaders would fight 
side by side against the Japanese tinder Chiang 
Kai-shek, with small apparent friction. At Hankow, 
in June, 1938, Chou En-lai, communist Vice-Di- 
rector of the Political Department of the powerful 
Military Council, solemnly assured me not only 
that the communists were fighting against Japan 
with their entire strength (a fact known to every 
Chinese school child), but that they were receiving 
complete cooperation and fair treatment from 
Chiang himself, according to the unwritten pact of 

Everywhere I went, staunch partisans and former 
opponents of Chinese unity under the Generalis- 
simo went out of their way to convince me of their 
complete cooperation with the man who had become 
the undisputed symbol of national resistance to 
Japan. The merest suspicion of willingness to pact 
with the invaders, the veriest hint of willingness to 
break the national unity, was the foulest charge that 
could be flung at a Chinese general or politician or 

4 The Tinder Box of Asia, p. 347. 


At Chengtu, I was waited upon by Bulson Chang, 
secretary and translator to "Marshal" Yen Shi-shan, 
former "model governor" of Shansi Province, and 
then head of the Pacification Commission of the 
same region, who was suspected of "too great im- 

Bulson Chang was, he informed me, a Christian 
who told no lies. "Marshal" Yen had, it appeared, 
been much disturbed by a broadcast made by a 
Chinese in Peiping who had come from Shansi, 
accusing the Chinese leader of having negotiated 
with the Japanese for a separate peace. This rumor 
had been repeated in the foreign press. Would I 
not deny it? To test the solidity of the request, I 
myself wrote the text of a denial and made it as 
water-tight as a newspaper man can. If the marshal 
would sign such a repudiation I would, I said, be 
glad to publish it. Days passed and no answer came 
from the "marshal's" headquarters at Sian. I re- 
turned to Europe. But hardly had I reached Paris 
when I received a message. It read simply. "O.K. 

Foreigners in Szechwan and Yunnan insisted on 
the fact that the members of the former "separatist" 
or "autonomous" regimes were remaining in power 
in both provinces. How could such people have 
"changed their minds" so suddenly? Kwangtung 
Province itself was showing a perplexing stubborn- 
ness in holding out for its financial privileges. After 
all, what were the provinces of Yunnan, Kwangsi 


and Kwangtung still doing with currencies of their 
own? The natives of Kunming showed a decided 
preference for Yunnan dollars as against national 
or "Shanghai" dollars. Why should Yunnan pos- 
sess its own Foreign Office? Yet I could not doubt 
the sincerity of Yun T. Miao, industrial magnate 
and financial adviser to the Government of Yunnan, 
who assured me of the absolute loyalty of the prov- 
ince to Chiang Kai-shek and defied me to mention a 
single national law or edict which Yunnan was not 
applying, though sometimes slowly and with seem- 
ing reluctance. 

Clearly, China's unity was too new to inspire full 
confidence even to Chiang himself. It was not 
merely as a reserve against possible future isolation 
from the outside world that the Generalissimo had 
piled up vast reserves of war material in safe places 
known best to himself. He intended to keep the 
national regime as safe internally as it was proving 
adamant against the Japanese. But among the for- 
eigners in Hankow, there was none who believed 
Chiang would have to use his reserves other than 
against the foreign invaders. Unquestionably, cer- 
tain people in Szechwan and Yunnan were none too 
happy about the probability of a thoroughly united 
China nor enjoying the prospect of being run over 
by Chiang's army. Nor were all the foreigners in 
these outlying provinces, many of whom had had 
small contact with New China, convinced that such 
was virtually inevitable. 


With one of these skeptical foreigners I had the 
following conversation: 

He: What makes you think that Yunnan autonomy 
is virtually over? 

/: What do you think? To me one of the follow- 
ing alternatives seems almost sure: either Chiang 
defeats the Japanese; or Chiang loses Hankow and 
has to retreat into these remote mountainous prov- 
inces. In the former case, he is left with such power 
and prestige that Yunnan and Szechwan will never 
dare even to try to oppose his victorious army; 
in the latter, his very numerous retreating soldiers 
will simply swarm all over the place and be in no 
mood to stand for any nonsense. In either case, local 
autonomy is gone. For China is bigger than Yunnan 
or Szechwan or both together. 

He: What makes you think Chiang will not pre- 
fer to fall back upon Lanchow on the caravan trail 
to Russia? 

/: My own common sense. That would mean his 
becoming the tool of Moscow whereas to-day he is 
Moscow's independent ally. His own sense of self- 
preservation and his dislike of communism will 
cause him to choose Chungking, Chengtu and Kun- 
ming as his new centers, if he loses Hankow. 

He: You may he right so long as Chiang is in 

/; Do you see anyone in China who can drive 
him out of power or who wants to, for that matter? 

He: Chiang is not invulnerable. The loss of Han- 


kow may shake China, even the New China you 
apparently believe in, to its foundations. After that, 
the landlords and bankers and merchants of the 
occupied territory, who have often sold out their 
country in the past, may decide that further resist- 
ance is hopeless and cooperate with the Japanese. 
Or the farmer boys in the army may get sick of 
dying for a government that does so little for them, 
and simply desert en masse. 

I: So far as I could see from my contact with the 
farmer soldiers, they are not fighting for love of 
Chiang, though they trust him, but from hatred of 
the Japanese and love of something we call China. 

He: Then you exclude the fall of Chiang? 

/: I do not know enough about Chinese affairs to 
exclude anything. But Chiang Kai-shek seems to me 
to enjoy a reputation and an authority in this coun- 
try such as I have rarely seen given to a man. He 
has a more sincere following than Hitler or Musso- 
lini; his position resembles that of Pilsudski or 
Kemal Atatiirk, or at least that of Clemenceau in 
France during the latter part of the World War. So 
long as, like Clemenceau, he answers all questions 
about his intentions and activities with the single 
phrase, "I am making war!" his position seems very 
strong. But suppose he did fall, what then? 

He: Then the secret ambitions of some in Szech- 
wan and Yunnan might be realized. Cannot you 
imagine a Southwestern Confederation of Chinese 


Provinces being formed out of Kwangsi, Kweichow, 
Yunnan and Szechwan? 

/; Only as a basis for further war; and under 
Chiang Kai-shek. 

He: No. I meant as something permanent, 

/; And leave the Japs to stay in the north and in 
the Yangtse Valley? 

He: Precisely. 

/; And who would take responsibility for such an 
ignominious arrangement? 

He: Who but your friend Pai (Pei) Hsung-chi, 
the Kwangsi general? After all, in 1936 he was 
fighting against Chiang Kai-shek. 

/: Because Chiang would not resist the Japanese 
and Pai wanted to. Of all the Chinese leaders I met, 
Pai, after Chiang, impressed me the most. I simply 
cannot see him doing anything like that. 

He: Suppose China collapsed? Suppose it were 
the best he could get? Suppose the independence of 
the Southwestern Confederation were guaranteed 
by France and Great Britain? What then? 

/; Can you see public opinion in England and 
France permitting their governments to connive at 
the dismemberment of China? 

He: It would not be put like that. They would be 
told they were saving the remnant of Chinese inde- 
pendence as the nucleus of some future China. 
France and Great Britain would then arm, train, 
and, if necessary, cooperate with the soldiers of the 
Confederation in defending it and putting a limit to 


the southern march of the Japanese. Such an Idea 
might obtain the support of the Western business- 

/: Why should they support such a pitiful 
"Rump 95 when they refuse help to a China that is 
virtually intact? 

He: You are innocent of the colonial mentality. 
An intact victorious China could thumb its nose at 
foreign business, the "Rump" would have to pur- 
chase its independence by handing over its economic 
riches for exploitation to the foreigners. Have you 
not heard of a British scheme to build a railway 
connecting Yunnan with the Burma system? 

/: I see. France to get the tungsten; the British in 
the Tin Pool to get the tin; perhaps an international 
consortium for opening communications and ex- 
ploiting the almost untouched and reputedly fabu- 
lous resources of Szechwan, under threat of aban- 
donment to the Japanese if the natives didn't like 
the arrangement. A pretty scheme, but I doubt if it 
can succeed. 

He: What obstacles do you see? 

/: In the first place, Chiang will probably not 

He: But he might be killed, or succumb to illness. 

/: Obviously. But even then, what you suggest 
could not, I believe, occur so long as the average 
intelligent Chinese was not convinced that Japan 
had won the war. To-day he is convinced that China 
is winning it. So long as this conviction holds, not 


Pal Hsung-chi, not the Generalissimo himself, could 
consent to what would be called a dishonorable 

He: I have not been out of this province since the 
war started. Surely you are overstating. 

/: Not at all. So far as I can learn, Chiang Kai- 
shek helped make the rising wave of nationalism. 
But to-day it is the rising wave that is making 
Chiang. Businessman, mandarin, or general, with 
popular feeling running as high as it does at pres- 
ent, he would be a brave man or a lunatic who 
would try to deliver China to Japan. For I would 
not give two cents for his life. His own soldiers, his 
wife, his servant, some student, would murder him. 
And the war against Japan would go on. For either 
I am an old shoe as well as an old newspaper man, 
or China has been deeply bitten by the microbe of 
nationalism. The Nineteenth Century and the early 
Twentieth Century witnessed this thing in one na- 
tion after another: Italy, Germany, Bulgaria, Rou- 
mania, Serbia, the South American countries, 
Poland, Czechoslovakia, the Baltic States. It is start- 
ing to-day in the Ukraine. My point is that there is 
no case where, once it has taken hold, this microbe 
has been eliminated by oppression or violence. If 
the analogy holds here, Chinese nationalism could 
survive even a Japanese victory or a renewal of 
Chinese civil war. But China is to-day united as 
never before and there are no signs of dissension. 
And without actual civil strife among the Chinese, 


Japan, it would seem, has only a very small chance 
of beating China. In any case the creation of New 
China will continue* 

He: Anyway, we agree that the China of the fu- 
ture will be in the south and west, only you imagine 
this as a nucleus of future growth, I, as the last 
remnant of a decadent empire. 

And here the conversation ended. 



WHY should we worry about loss of territory 
when we have all Asia to retire into?" 
The speaker was General Chen Cheng, Head of 
the Military Council of China, Military Governor 
of Hupei Province, and reputed choice of Chiang 
Kai-shek as his successor in case "anything should 
happen." Important people were hard to locate in 
the Wuhan trio of cities astraddle the Yangtse. My 
original appointment with the general was in Han- 
kow; then it was shifted across the Yangtse to 
Wuchang, but upon arriving there at ten on a hot 
June evening, I was abruptly sent back to Hankow. 
It was nearly midnight before we met in a charm- 
ingly furnished reception room not far from the 
Ministry of Publicity. All Chinese males are time- 
less in appearance between the ages of eighteen and 
fifty, but the general looked young even for China. 
After we had been served those cups of pure hot 
water which even the nerveless Chinese, under the 
War strain, had begun to substitute for stimulating 
tea, the conversation began. General Chen Cheng 
was apparently more politically minded and cau- 
tious than his colleague General Pai Hsung-chi, 
the Kwangsi chief -of-staff, but he agreed with Mm 



as to the number of Japanese involved in the China 

"In the eleven months the war has lasted/* he 
said, using an interpreter, though I suspected he 
spoke excellent English, "the Japanese have called 
upon nearly a million and a half men. They are 
using some thirty divisions. These divisions have 
been reenforced to a strength of thirty-four thou- 
sand men each. Add the replacements of the casual- 
ties and the sick, and you reach the figure I stated. 
No one can hold China with a million men, not as 
long as we keep on fighting. Our production of war 
material is steadily increasing. In addition to small 
arms in abundance, we now produce some artillery 
and within a short time will be making airplanes." 

Now, excessive verbalization, the mistaking of 
words and plans for reality, is a Chinese weakness. 
Yet when I expressed a mild doubt as to whether 
the "Rump" China left by the taking of Hankow 
would suffice as a basis to carry on the war, the 
general smiled with confidence. 

"Go into the Southwest and see for yourself," he 

The term Southwest means in China the four 
provinces of Kwangsi, Kweichow, Yunnan, and 
Szechwan, with the possible addition of the big 
southern coastal province of Kwangtung whose 
capital is Canton, in which the British colony of 
Hong Kong lies like a rough emerald in a red gold 
setting. Kwangtung was in a sense the key to Chi- 


nese resistance, for from Hong Kong northward 
extends the precious railroad to Hankow. Without 
a declaration of war, the British at Hong Kong saw 
no reason to close their port to the passage of food 
and war materials for China. The Japanese had, 
therefore, either to declare war on China and 
thereby cease to obtain any further supplies of war 
material from the United States under the applica- 
tion of the American neutrality legislation; or to 
conquer Hong Kong; or to intimidate the British 
into closing the port as they had partially in- 
timidated the French in Indo-China further south; 
or to land a new Expeditionary Force in southern 
China and cut the railroad somewhere north of 
Hong Kong territory; or to take Hankow and pro- 
ceed five hundred miles southward along the rail- 
road until they occupied it all as far as the giant 
city of Canton. They apparently preferred the last 

Now, the Chinese are always incalculable and 
often inefficient, but none can call them improvident. 
Months in advance they foresaw and discounted a 
Japanese occupation of Hankow. In August, 1937, 
the National Resources Commission, set up by the 
Generalissimo as his personal organ to supersede 
the National Bureau of Economic Research founded 
by T. V. Soong, proceeded to begin moving as much 
of the industry as possible from the vulnerable 
coastal area around Shanghai, where most of it 
was located, into the remote interior. As the Japa- 


nese advanced, one Chinese resettlement plan fol- 
lowed another. The first had picked upon the prov- 
inces of Hupei and Hunan as the best site. Japanese 
military pressure on Hupei spoiled this. They next 
foresaw the location of at least fifty per cent of the 
transferred factories into remote Szechwan, deemed 
inaccessible. But Szechwan turned out to be too 
inaccessible, being reached only by die Yangtse 
River and by one uncompleted highway over high 
mountains from Changsha, on the Hankow-Hong 
Kong Railroad. Highway and railroad terminated 
at Chungking, in the extreme eastern part of Szech- 
wan, and behind Chungking was but one decent 
road, the stone-bedded but choppy highway to 
Chengtu, capital of the province. A Japanese occu- 
pation of Changsha, by no means out of the ques- 
tion, would mean that industry located in Szechwan 
was virtually marooned there and its products 
could not easily be distributed through the other 
inaccessible provinces, Kwangsi, Kweichow and 
Yunnan, which the government had every reason to 
believe it could hold. Therefore, a revised or third 
plan provided for scattering factories over the en- 
tire Rump China. 

This was done. At least one hundred and fifty 
larger factories were moved bodily. Fifteen thou- 
sand tons of machinery reached Chungking by 
small boats and were landed and carried up those 
three hundred pitiless steps to the city by tireless 
coolies. Since it did not care particularly about 


having the reestablished factories bombed, the gov- 
ernment was cagey about giving precise informa- 
tion concerning their new location. 

With the transfer of the industry to the west and 
southwest, the stage was all set for a new war de- 
velopment. Szechwan had long been known to be 
among the richest parts of China. The construc- 
tion of a railroad had even been begun between 
Chungking and Chengtu, and then abandoned. The 
province had set up a plan of economic develop- 
ment before the Japanese invasion, when Szechwan, 
under Marshal Liu-Siang, was still reluctant to ad- 
mit itself an integral portion of the Chinese Repub- 
lic of Nanking. A couple of model farms were 
actually started. But the Szechwanese are an easy- 
going lot. Though their plan for the economic re- 
construction of the province included just about 
everything, not very much was actually accom- 
plished until the Japanese invasion shifted the na- 
tional center of gravity. 

For, along with the migration of Chinese facto- 
ries, went a wholesale transfer of governmental of- 
fices and institutions and, what was perhaps even 
more important, of whole universities. The sys- 
tematic bombing and destruction of any number of 
Chinese educational institutions doubtless, in Jap- 
anese eyes, went along with the forcible doping of 
the population with narcotics. Just as in subjugated 
Korea, the Chinese were to be deprived of learning, 
health and will power, in order to make them docile 


slaves of their Nipponese masters. Quite aside from 
the fact that the Chinese are not Koreans, the de- 
struction and driving out of the educational insti- 
tutions were conceivably of immense benefit to 
China. The number of universities, colleges and 
professional schools was inevitably reduced, but 
those that remained emigrated to the territories of 
the west and south, where they brought the impact 
of a new spirit, thereby preparing the way for the 
rapid development of the backward provinces. Pro- 
fessors and students submitted to the greatest priva- 
tions rather than let the light of learning go out in 
China. Young men walked hundreds and hundreds 
of miles from the big centers, girls were sent out 
of the country and then back in again by the French 
Railway, in order to reach remote Yunnan, where 
their new-fangled ways cause a wholesome scandal 
among the ultra-conservatives, to whom opium 
smoking was a harmless pastime compared with 
destructive vices like modern dancing and rouging 
the lips. The newcomers, government employees 
and academic devotees, set to work. A single exile 
like D. K. Lieu, Member of the National Resources 
Commission, Director of the Bureau of Economic 
Research and Member of the Military Council, was 
a dynamo, for he brought with him a well-trained 
mind with an immense respect for facts. 

Kweichow and Kwangtung are rough country, 
producing good soldiers and offering fine oppor- 
tunity for resisting the Japanese. But from the 


Chinese viewpoint they are sparsely inhabited, with 
less than thirty million people between them. Their 
resources are not large. Yunnan had the advantage 
of even greater remoteness and considerable wealth 
of valuable minerals, notably tungsten and tin. 
Kwangsi and Yunnan shared the advantage of lying 
contiguous to French Indo-China, with a railway 
outlet to the sea through the neutral port of Haip- 
hong. The shorter branch of this narrow-gauge line 
entered Kwangsi at Lanson and, after a forty mile 
continuation, stopped abruptly. But it was pro- 
longed by a highway to Nanking and Changsha to 
the east, and to Kweiyang in Kweichow, and to 
Chungking in Szechwan. The longer westerly branch 
terminated at Kunming, capital of Yunnan, where 
a somewhat roundabout highway led to the Chang- 
sha-Chungking road. The Japs might, by a miracle, 
get into Kwangsi and Kweichow Provinces, but that 
they could reach Kunming was beyond legitimate 
imagining. The cutting of the Hong Kong port of 
entry could not mean complete isolation from the 
sea unless the French closed their railway to Chi- 
nese traffic under Japanese threat of occupying the 
Chinese Island of Hainan lying off the coast of 
Indo-China. Such a threat was actually made. In 
the first year of the Sino-Japanese war, the French 
allowed very little war material to enter China over 
their precious railway, and that only of French 
manufacture, under the pretext that it had all "been 
ordered" before hostilities started. Fearful of fur- 


ther French connivance with Japan, which was what 
the French tactics amounted to, the Chinese and the 
British began paving the ancient caravan trail from 
Yunnan across the mountains westward to Burma, 
and by September, 1938, it was virtually completed. 

Rump China was thus, under all circumstances, 
in possession of two sure lines of communication 
with the outside world, the Burma road in the south- 
west, and the trail to Russia from Lanchow in the 
northwest, long indeed but inaccessible to the Japa- 
nese. Most of the government offices were trans- 
planted from Hankow to one or other of the western 
cities and the economic and cultural development 
of the Rump, as a base for a "permanent" war with 
Japan, could begin. 

Kwangsi was producing some tin and an excess 
of rice. The Yunnan tin production could be in j 
creased to a fourth of the normal world demand. 
Tungsten and antimony are both abundant and 
there was some copper production. But the Gol- 
conda of Rump China, relatively untapped but su- 
preme in fertility, mineral wealth and potential 
water power, was Szechwan, on whose eifective de- 
velopment the viability of Rump China, in last 
analysis, was bound to turn. In the course of my 
visit to Chungking and Chengtu, I obtained from 
General Ho Kwo-kwang and D. K. Lieu at Chung- 
king, and from the Szechwan Reconstruction Com- 
mission at Chengtu, the following data: 

Agriculturally, Szechwan is incredibly fertile. It 


produces two and more crops a year. The rice yield 
is about ten per cent above the Chinese average and 
greater than the dense Jocal population can con- 
sume. Szechwan produces a vast amount of wood 
(tung) oil, practically all of which, in normal 
times, is available for export. The orange crop is 
large and of good quality. The silk production is 
splendid. A real boycott on Japanese silk in the 
Western world could automatically make a place 
for Szechwan silks, both raw and woven. The Chi- 
nese Foreign Trade Commission undertook to sell 
a certain amount of Szechwan silk on its own re- 
sponsibility. I never saw finer material for shirt- 
ings. There is some cotton and tobacco and sugar 
cane. There is also an excellent hard wood called 
nan-moo which is amazingly cheap and makes first- 
class railway ties. There are plans for the opening 
of several cotton mills at Peipei near Chungking. 
The live stock of Szechwan amounted in 1937 to 
about 4.5 million pigs, a quarter of a million cattle, 
320 thousand water buffaloes, 435 thousand goats, 
50 thousand sheep. The production of hides and 
pig bristles is large. The suppression of opium cul- 
tivation, if carried out anything like as thoroughly 
as promised, could greatly increase the amount of 
all other products available. John Lossing Buck, 
greatest expert on Chinese agriculture, laid down 
early in the war a set of slogans for all China which, 
if applied in Szechwan alone, would go far toward 
making Rump China independent of agricultural 


Imports. These were: (I) plant crops producing 
most food; (2) decrease area in non-food crops; 
(3) cultivate new land; (4) grow more winter 
crops (not applicable to Szechwan where they al- 
ready existed) ; (5) fertilize crops heavily; (6) 
use more organic matter; (7) cultivate crops better; 
(8) control crop insects and diseases; (9) drain 
lands properly; (10) protect and strengthen dykes; 
(11) irrigate more land; (12) use more water in 
irrigating; (13) give better care to store crops; 
(14) protect your live stock from infection; (15) 
grow more vegetables; (16) save food by eating 
unpolished rice and coarse flour; (17) eat more 
potatoes, corn (maize), soya beans, squash and 
vegetables in place of rice and flour; (18) drink 
less wine; (19) smoke less tobacco; (20) smoke no 
opium; (21) serve less food at dinner parties; (22) 
postpone purchases of new clothes and bedding. 

Szechwan mineral wealth is even more striking. 
There are fairly large deposits of iron and copper 
and coal, some zinc and nickeL Forty thousand 
ounces of gold annually are mined or taken from 
the rivers not much, but easily doubled with more 
modern methods. The salt domes of the province 
are famous and, if exploited, capable of supplying 
the normal needs of all China. Near the salt domes 
are petroleum deposits. Borings were made in two 
places, at Tseliuching near the salt domes, and at 
Shiyukow near Chungking, with fair results. 

A cement plant at Chungking, an acid factory at 


Peipei, and numerous power plants completed the 
picture. Any amount of still-available water power 
could be obtained. 

Granted two or three short railroads or some 
other decent means of communication, and Szech- 
wan could become an economic stronghold of the 
highest importance. To build these quickly New 
China, according to the Chinese* needed not only 
more initiative than vouchsafed before, but prob- 
ably foreign capital. During my trip, I learned 
that several European groups were immediately 
willing to buy in on the tin mines of Yunnan, but 
that the Americans, preferred by the Yunnanites, 
were curiously shy of investment. Foreigners 
seemed increasingly interested in helping to develop 
Szechwan; the risk of seizure by the Japanese 
seemed, in view of the country's remoteness and 
isolation, small indeed. In Yunnan I had seen a 
German representative of Krupp, interested in the 
tin, and an American mining engineer in the em- 
ploy of the Chinese tin owners who was doing his 
best to attract the attention of American statesmen. 
For Yunnan tin offered an all but impregnable 
supply of this precious metal to a maritime nation 
in case of war. ... At Kunming I ran across the 
traces of a representative of the French armament 
firm of Schneider-Creusot. Obviously the Chinese 
west was becoming of increasing interest to the 
Occidental world. Why? 

Obviously because the Japanese had fallen far 


short of expectations in a military way. Their 
strategy was defective, their tactics outworn. Only 
their material was good and their courage constant. 
By their military insolence, the shooting of their 
"friend," the British Ambassador, Sir Hughe Mont- 
gomery Knatchbull-Hugessen, their bombing of the 
American gunboat Panay, they had brought about 
the possibility of an Anglo-American combination 
against them in the Pacific they were obviously far 
too weak to face. By refusing to limit their military 
operations against China to a reasonable area, they 
were playing into the hands of Soviet Russia. Un- 
questionably they were exhausting themselves eco- 
nomically at the same time, and were in danger of 
failing, not only in some future war with Russia, 
but in their attempt to break the will of China. 

For the Chinese had surprised everyone. Less, 
to be sure, by their ability as sheer fighters. No, the 
Chinese had surprised the world by their failure to 
succumb to certain weaknesses reported traditional, 
incompetence in the leaders, venality, lack of popu- 
lar morale and patriotism, failure to show team 
work. The China of 1938 was overcoming them all 
to an increasing degree and, despite the depth of 
Japanese military penetration, was stronger than 
at the beginning of the war a year before. 

In consequence, the foreigners were no longer 
afraid of Japan and beginning to reckon with the 
possibility of a successful China with which one had 
better be on good terms. . . . 



I STOOD on the landing field of the airport at 
Chungking and looked at the conveyance that 
was to take me to Chengtu. Two hundred miles and 
more in that thing! It might have been built by the 
Wright brothers. 

"After all," I reasoned, "it goes back and forth 
on this line fairly regularly and nothing has hap- 
pened yet." 

On closer observation the thing looked more like 
a gigantic box kite. "And the Chinese have always 
been experts at flying kites/' 

Reassurance was feeble. And then a miracle 
happened. Out of the sky came the drone of ultra- 
powerful motors and a few seconds later a modern 
monoplane dropped on to the field and out stepped 
two tall men in white ducks. 

"Eating again," I heard one of them say to the 
other in a slow mocking tone. "Say, if you were to 
miss a meal you wouldn't have strength enough to 
lift the oil can." 

Fellow Americans, without the shadow of a doubt. 
Incredible to find them here. The sequence was 
even more theatrical. Chinese soldiers appeared and 



surrounded the plane. And from a shed came a row 
of coolies each carrying on his shoulder a sort of 
cubic parcel, under the weight of which he stag- 
gered. Now the average hundred-pound coolie can 
sling a grand piano to each end of his bamboo pole 
and walk away without a tremor. A parcel as small 
as that which caused him to sway could contain 
only one thing that was likely to be transported by 
air. Some of the square packages were stowed away 
in the baggage compartment of the big three-motor 
machine and the rest were placed carefully on the 
floor, one between each two passenger seats. When 
the load was complete a single Chinese in a gray 
robe entered the plane. Here was my chance. I 
approached the pilot: 

"Might I ask where you are going?" 


"Is there any chance of a lift? I have a ticket 
for the other plane over there, but somehow I seem 
to prefer yours." 

"Oh, you do? An American?" 

"Yes. Newspaper man." 

"O.K. As I don't see any other passengers, you 
might as well come along with us. Just tell those 
boys to move your stuff out of the other crate into 
this one." 

In five minutes I was settled comfortably back in 
a cushioned front seat, the silent Chinese and I 
alone with those heavy packages. With a roar the 


big machine rose from the mudflat field and pointed 
to the east. 

This airplane belonged to the Bank of China. It 
was carrying gold. During the past month it had 
brought as much as thirty-five million dollars of the 
precious stuff from Hankow. From Chengtu the 
gold went on to Lanchow by air. I did not myself 
visit Lanchow, the great Russian base, at the eastern 
end of the longest line of military communications 
in the world. There was too little to be seen: an 
airplane assembly station, a rather small base of 
war supplies these are meager sights to justify 
the long trip by air and road from Hankow. And 
to reach Soviet territory takes the fleet of Russian 
trucks days and even weeks. Clearly so long as 
Hong Kong remained in touch with China, that 
and not Lanchow would be China's greatest en- 
trance for war supplies, regardless of their origin. 
And, for the time being at least, the means of 
payment was being found. 

For how long? From the beginning of the war it 
was clear that this might eventually become China's 
major problem. At Hong Kong I had heard fears 
expressed lest China's available supply of metal, 
mostly silver deposited abroad, would soon peter 
out. How could it be otherwise with the balance of 
payments obviously unfavorable? China normally 
imports food. In prosperous times, before the war, 
China's unfavorable trade balance was compensated 
by large and steady remittances from the thou- 


sands and thousands of well-to-do Chinese living 
abroad. During the war, despite the patriotism of 
the expatriate Chinese, these remittances began to 
run thin or to be sent, not to wealthy Canton, but 
to British Hong Kong, in whose damp but relatively 
secure premises a number of wealthy Chinese had 
taken to living. To compensate for this loss China 
could reduce its imports; increase its exports; re- 
duce its payments to foreign creditors; render 
difficult any conceivable flight of Chinese capital; 
obtain credits or loans abroad. 

None of these was easy. The Japanese occupa- 
tion of so much of the Chinese coast and territory 
might have brought about a reduction of imports. 
But only if the Chinese Government would cast off 
these territories financially by ceasing to supply 
them with currency. And Chinese national unity 
was too new and fragile a thing to warrant subject- 
ing it to such a strain on loyalty to say nothing 
of foreign objections. Moreover the control of im- 
ports was rendered singularly difficult by the 
presence of Foreign Concessions in so many places. 
Merchandise could be brought to these Concessions 
by foreigners, duty free, and from there it was 
relatively easy matter to smuggle it into China 

Nor did the increase of exports seem much 
easier. The greatest obstacle was the continuance of 
the world depression, particularly in the United 
States, the consumer of most of China's principal 


export, wood oil, an essential to modern paint. But 
the loss of Shanghai, site of no less than fifty per 
cent of China's modern industry, was a hard blow. 
The loss of Shantung gave over to the Japanese 
the greatest silk-producing province, though for 
years the Chinese silk production had been under- 
cut by the thrifty Japanese. There remained the 
possibility of reducing the payments to foreign 
creditors, most of them British, but even including 
some Japanese. Any other country in the circum- 
stances of invaded China would have declared a 
complete moratorium. But China was still some- 
thing of a colonial country and its last hope might 
lie in keeping the confidence of foreigners. There- 
fore, the foreign payments must be made so long 
as it was humanly possible. 

Stopping the flight of Chinese capital abroad was 
not so difficult. To obtain new private loans from 
abroad was just about impossible so long as the 
foreigners had not come to believe in an ultimate 
Chinese victory. Any substantial new credits had to 
be "political" that is, given or guaranteed by a 
government. Exact information on this subject was 
difficult to obtain at Hankow; the correspondent got 
the impression that something had been given by 
Russia (I do not speak of commodity exchanges of 
the type China made with Germany and Czecho- 
slovakia nor of the real credits obtained abroad just 
before the war started), a trifle by France, a trickle 
by British interests and nothing by the United States. 


How then keep up at full volume the river of war 
material necessary to equip China's millions of 

That the balance of payments was unfavorable 
was shown by the June, 1938, slump in the value of 
the Chinese dollar. In Hong Kong and Hankow I 
was assured in May that the already emaciated 
dollar would henceforth be held stable. And then it 
slumped again. There were rumors of sharp alterca- 
tions between the Descendant of Confucius in the 
Ministry of Finances and his fiery brother-in-law, 
T. V. Soong, of the Bank of Canton, precisely over 
this slump. But I had it on good authority that 
henceforth the currency could be kept at its level, 
some forty-five per cent below its value at the 
beginning of the war. Well, maybe. But how hold 
the currency stable with an unfavorable balance of 
payments? How, that is, unless the Chinese could 
cut themselves completely off from the world like 
Germany and Italy, and support their money on 
police force, with the penalty of decapitation for 
currency smugglers or speculators? Decapitation 
might prove possible. But what was the good of that 
in one portion of China if in the regions occupied 
by the Japanese, and in Shanghai and the other 
incredibly numerous Foreign Concessions, the Chi- 
nese currency must continue to circulate? 

There was no way to escape the conclusion: To 
save the financial and economic situation China 
ought immediately to cast off responsibility for 


occupied China, stamp its notes and refuse to accept 
unstamped ones, and clamp down a moratorium on 
all former obligations abroad. The results: a howl 
going up from the important British business inter- 
ests centered in Hong Kong and Shanghai and 
powerful enough even in London to swing the 
wobbly British Cabinet; Sir Vandeleur Grayburn, 
uncrowned King of Hong Kong, filling the economic 
newspapers of the world with tales of inherent 
Chinese dishonesty and ruining what chance there 
might ultimately be for China to obtain real private 
or governmental credits in some awakened democ- 
racy abroad just as if Britain was not defaulting 
on its debts to the United States in a period of rela- 
tive British prosperity! But Britain, being a great 
empire living on accumulated moral, political and 
financial capital could afford to be shall we say 
self-righteous? And New China, a still tiny growth 
in the midst of an ancient decay, could not. There 
was nothing for China to do but struggle along with 
expedients. To find suitable ones was the task of 
T. V. Soong, China's richest banker, for Finance 
Minister Dr. H. H. Kung, for Arthur Young, the 
American financial adviser, and for Cyril Rogers of 
the Bank of England. But the British Prime Min- 
ister had just refused Rogers a loan for the purpose 
of stabilizing the Chinese currency. Would the 
British lend money on a new railway concession in 
Yunnan or on the Yunnan tin? 

What else could China do? I might ask the Bank 


of China representative across the aisle. He was 
sleeping among his cubes of gold. That wasn't 
prudent: how did he know I wouldn't profit by his 
slumber to pitch one package overboard to some 
confederate waiting down below on one of those 
unbelievable plum-colored mountains of Central 
Szechwan (if I could lift it)? I must wake him up 
and warn him of the danger, as well as ask a ques- 
tion or two. All to no purpose. Even awake he spoke 
nothing that I could understand, for my knowledge 
of Chinese was limited to the ability to choose be- 
tween tea and hot water as a society drink. Uncon- 
scious of my sinister imaginings, the Chinese 
slumped lower into his gray robe and snored again. 
Well, China could reduce its imports. By making 
the consumption of unpolished rice obligatory it 
could cut down its imports of food stuffs by a certain 
important percentage. This problem was already 
urgent in over-populated Kwangtung Province. 
China could cut the imports of foreign manufac- 
tured goods to the bare minimum of machinery and 
war supplies. With the Japanese occupying most of 
the cotton-growing provinces, China must dress 
itself in the simplest way. Handsome and active 
Madame Chiang Kai-shek was already busy with 
the problem. She was arranging for the purchase of 
seventy thousand hand-looms to give employment 
to refugee women, as a beginning. And within a 
year she promised a nation of formerly silken-clad 


women dressed uniformly in the simplest cotton 

That was the way. The marvelous silks of Szech- 
wan, almost unknown in the world, could be col- 
lected and exported, if necessary at a financial 
sacrifice. Wood-oil sales would revive if and when 
American prosperity returned. The tin production 
of Yunnan could quickly be doubled or tripled in 
defiance of or in cooperation with the powerful 
International Tin Committee, with its price fixing 
and urge toward world monopoly. 

Japan, too, was unhappy and without credit. A 
poor nation lodging an eighteen-foot anaconda's 
appetite in the body of a five-foot blacksnake. From 
July, 1937, until April, 1938, the war was estimated 
to have cost the Japanese four hundred million yen 
a month, or forty per cent of the national income. 
In 1918, at the height of the war strain, the United 
States was spending only a quarter of its national 
income. Already the island Imperialists were forced 
into totalitarian control and complete economic 
mobilization. Half of the gold reserve had already 
evaporated. Just to conquer fat flabby China. Yet 
this was the nation that dreamed of beating the 
gigantic Soviet empire and wresting control of the 
Pacific from the United States, France and Great 
Britain! Probably a British and American embargo 
on certain supplies, a further boycott of Japanese 
goods, could break Japan within a year. Why 
should not the American Government give China a 


loan for the purchase of oil, food and cotton for the 
suffering civilians? That at least would be no 
violation of its "neutrality." . . . 

Five thousand feet below, the deep purply hills 
suddenly gave place to vast pale-green rice fields 
and the plain of Szechwan spread before my eyes, 
beautiful, potentially as rich as all Japan, but back- 
ward, medieval, full of autonomous longings and 
dulled with opium. . . . 

Could China hold out financially and economi- 
cally at least for another year that might bring a 
diplomatic "break" in China's favor? (As the plane 
slowed down and dropped on to the field at Chengtu, 
the sleeping Chinese awoke with a start and looked 
around at his precious consignment.) 

The answer seemed to be clear: in last analysis 
China's problems all boiled down to a moral prob- 
lem. A renascent nation of over four hundred 
million could do almost anything, provided it had 
the guts to suffer, the patriotism to hold on and the 
leadership to trust. The rest was technical, sec- 
ondary, relatively simple. 




THE single gas-driven "Micheline" car which, 
jolting and swerving on its rubber tires over 
the narrow-gauge rails, brings the traveler in a 
single day from Kunming on the highlands to Yun- 
nan down to swampy Laoki on the border of Indo- 
China, probably started it. The air of Kunming 
is far too serene for tortuous self -probing. But as 
the train gradually creeps its twisting way down 
the long hill, it passes through the tin-mining dis- 
trict. And at this point its uncomfortable lurches 
and jolts seem to insist on the stories one has heard 
of the manner in which tin is mined in Yunnan. 
Long narrow galleries, too small for a grown man, 
are driven into the hills. Little boys go in on their 
knees and stomachs, scrape down the ore and bring 
it out on their backs. As there are no props, the 
galleries are continually caving in. Sometimes on 
the little miners. In which case, since the children 
are probably dead anyway, the galleries are simply 
filled up from the outside and kept shut until the 
forces of nature have done away with the little 
bodies. At the end of which period, the gallery is 



again cleared of dirt and new little boys begin 
again. . . . 

At Kunming I had not so much minded. In a 
normal vehicle I might never have remembered. But 
the unsteady "Micheline" somehow hammered at 
the sore spot. By evening in the most torrid jungle 
at Laokai, I was angry with China. Why must the 
friendly, likeable Chinese continue to perpetuate 
such horrors? Why were they so obtuse to human 
suffering? What about their general behavior? 
What right did they have anyway to fill the world 
with outcries against Japanese atrocities? As for 
myself, was I really being objective in my favor- 
able judgment of them? Had I got to the bottom of 
their elusive Oriental temperament, at once so mild 
and cruel? I stayed awake for a long time in the 
sleeping car without being able to reach a conclu- 

In the airplane, in the long trying hours of flying 
anywhere between two and seventeen thousand feet 
above sea level, even at night in such fascinating 
places as Bangkok, Calcutta, Baghdad and Athens, 
I still thought of the children deep in those ghastly 
galleries, shrieking and dying asphyxiated while 
men outside stopped up the exits. . . . 

The more I wrote about China, the sharper the 
twinges of scruple. And as I went along, day after 
day, jotting down my memories and impressions of 
the Far East, internal pressure grew. One morning 


the expected voice had become loud to the point of 

Conscience: Really I must congratulate you on 
your new-found talent as a propagandist, Dr. 

Ego: Oh, there you are! You have been bother- 
ing me now for some time. May I ask for just what 
reason you presume to interfere with the honest 
exercise of my profession? 

Conscience: Honest exercise, did you say? 

Ego: That was my word. 

Conscience: Convenient idea of honesty you have. 

Ego: What's eating you, anyway? Kindly lay 
your finger on a single instance where I have con- 
sciously stated something that is not so. Or else, be 

Conscience: As if that were the test! Yours is a 
dishonesty of omission. 

Ego: I could not write everything. Newspapers 
are continually short of space. There is a great deal 
going on in the world outside China, you know. 
And my publishers wanted a little book. 

Conscience: That's it, go right on equivocating. 
As though lack of space were the reason for your 

Ego: Since you know so much, what was it then? 

Conscience: Half -conscious desire to emulate Dr. 
Goebbels, as I said at the beginning. You despise 
Dr. Goebbels. But you want China to win the war. 
You dislike the Japanese 


Ego: Wrong. I dislike their politics. I favor a 
world consciously ordered by what I call decent 
people in accordance with certain ethical 

Conscience: Principles! Quite so. And so you 
want to induce your readers into a favorable atti- 
tude toward China. To make it seem that the 
Chinese respect these principles you omit certain 
blemishes from your portrait of them. Not always 
consciously, perhaps. But often deliberately, as in 
the case of the children crushed or buried alive in 
the tin mines of Yunnan. 

Ego: I was not writing about Chinese methods of 
industrial production. Naturally they are backward, 
like nearly everything else in China. Nor was it my 
task to describe the ancient rot so much as the new 
growth that is appearing in the midst of it. I never 
pretended to give a full length portrait of the 
Chinese. For that I lack both the knowledge and 
the time. 

Conscience: But you invited your readers to con- 
demn the Japanese for forcing narcotics on your 
friends! Which is worse, to sell narcotics to foreign 
adults or to asphyxiate one's own children out of 
love of gain? At least, if you mention one, oughtn't 
you to say something about the other? 

Ego: Not unless it comes within my subject. 
Poisoning the Chinese is a Japanese weapon in the 
war; the death of Chinese children in the tin mines 
preceded and is totally extraneous to the present 


Conscience: If that is your criterion, why, having 
mentioned Japanese atrocities, didn't you mention 
how few Japanese prisoners ever reach Chinese 
headquarters or how the Chinese generals offer 
money just to have them brought in alive? 

Ego: I thought I had. If not, I am quite willing 
to. If this is all you have to reproach me for, you 
had better see a psychoanalyst. 

Conscience: You cannot escape by insulting me. 
You dwelt on the Chinese absence of ambulances 
and doctors. Did you describe how a wounded 
Chinese with money could often get transportation 
to a hospital while one without money must walk or 
die by the wayside? Did you tell how you saw yes, 
actually saw a Chinese officer drive common 
soldiers off that telephone truck with a whip which 
he obviously wasn't using for the first time? You 
did not. It would not have fitted your picture of a 
likeable people observant of humane principles. 

Ego: I suspected this had become the exception. 

Conscience: Oh, you did! Well, you saw for 
yourself how opium growing and smoking was 
going on despite the Chinese assurances to the 

Ego: And I wrote about narcotics in Chengtu 
and Kunming. 

Conscience: But not that you were offered a pipe 
of opium in Hankow itself, right under the eyes of 
that convert to Methodism, Chiang Kai-shek. 


Ego (triumphantly) : But that was in the French 
Concession where Chiang has no power. 

Conscience: You score your first point. Now let 
us talk a little about these Soongs you so much 

Ego: I cannot keep you silent if I would. 

Conscience: In your description of the "Soong 
Dynasty" you did not think it worth while men- 
tioning the charges of corruption commonly made 
against certain members. Is this your idea of intel- 
lectual honesty? 

Ego: Certainly I heard the stories as everyone in 
China must, for they are told at dinner tables. But 
since when do you expect me to repeat every bit of 
scandal that I hear? Besides, true or false, I do not 
think them very important. The Chinese have always 
had lax notions about the legitimacy of using posi- 
tion and power for personal benefit. I gathered that 
there is less of this in China than before, not 

Conscience: But that is not the way you talked 
to your young Chinese friends. To them you insisted 
on the need for giving the common man a square 
deal, which he is certainly not getting now, if his 
morale is to be kept up. For after all it is the 
common man who is carrying the weight of China's 
war. You were told I was with you and heard it 
how many Chinese still see the war in terms of per- 
sonal profit; you know how many sons of good 
families are being kept out of the struggle on princi- 


pie by their families; you cannot but have witnessed 
the immense moral superiority of the common 
soldier to the officer. 

Ego: Come, come, be fair. I wrote that. 

Conscience: But did not dwell upon it. Once 
more you sought to paint the Chinese situation more 
favorable than it really is. 

Ego: Have you any more bile secreted some- 

Conscience: It was not I who solicited this dis- 
cussion. You yourself kept dwelling on China until 
I just had to recall you to complete sincerity. 

Ego: Have you any more complaints? 

Conscience (somewhat wearily) : Indeed I have! 
You are a democrat: at least, I have heard you say 
so often enough. You seek the triumph of democ- 
racy. Can you believe that a Chinese victory over 
Japan will strengthen democracy in the world? In 
your opinion (and please remember that I can see 
right to the bottom of you!) is Chiang Kai-shek a 
democrat? Is T* V. Soong a democrat? Is your 
friend the Kwangsi general Pai (Pei) Hsung-chi a 
democrat? Or W. H. Donald? Or the "land- 
reforming" communists, for that matter are they 
democrats? Can you make a State democratic by 
just saying so? 

Ego: Hold on, hold on: why all the heat? Just 
what difference does this make to us? 

Conscience: It is not for me to choose between 
political forms merely to keep you straight about 


them. Can yon claim to have been straight about 
China if you are afraid to answer them? 

Ego: Very well, but one at a time, if you please. 
China, you will admit, is at war 

Conscience: Now none of that. It is you who are 
on the dock, not I. Chiang was just as little demo- 
cratic before the war started; he was reproached for 
his high-handed ways by the "Young Marshal," 
Chang Hsueh-liang, as you can read in Chiang's own 
diaries: "Chiang did not become autocratic owing 
to any war need." 

Ego: Have it your own way, but let us not mix 
democracy and liberalism. 

To return to other questions: Chiang, in my 
opinion, is not a democrat. Neither was Alexander 
Hamilton. But like Hamilton, Chiang is being im- 
pelled by another man's philosophy namely Sun 
Yat-sen's "Three Principles" and by his own utter- 
ances to move toward democracy even though he 
does not trust the people. That is why he convoked 
the "People's Political Council" the other day. 

Conscience: Oh, that thing! A false face! Didn't 
it remind you of the Constitutional Convention you 
saw in Moscow at the end of 1936 trained seals 
waiting for their master to throw them a fish and 
barking their gratitude when they get it? 

Ego: It did not. I do not know whether it will be 
possible ever to make democrats out of the Euro- 
pean Russians; the Siberians as frontiersmen are 


admittedly another matter. But I sincerely believe 
that China is moving toward a democracy 

Conscience (ironically) : Basis of the State now 
widened to include at least one whole family! 

Ego: Shut up. Or else don't ask questions. 
T. V. Soong is a democrat of a very peculiar sort. 
I admitted that he was domineering just as able 
people often are if they be not patient as well. 

General Pai never made any claim to democracy 
down in his native Kwangsi. 

Communism in China has so far been primarily 
a matter of land reform and opposing Japan: as the 
doctrine fades out in Russia it is quite possible that 
the Chinese sort of communism could come to pre- 
vail. This sort is certainly not incompatible with real 
democracy. I know nothing of Donald's political 

Conscience: This from you. . . . Have you for- 
gotten Adolf Hitler's "German democracy" and 
Stalin's new constitution, "a million times more 
democratic than any other"? You might try to be 

Ego: Very well. Call Chiang a Fuehrer. Admit 
that government by one family is, in the long run, 
the darkest medievalism. Call the present economic 
organization of China feudal, proclaim the farmers 
to be grossly oppressed, the Chinese bankers an in- 
satiate lot of usurers. Do all these things. It none- 
theless remains that a Chinese victory over Japan 
would represent a triumph for democracy if only 


because it would make the defense of democracy 
In Europe and America so much easier. 

Now are you satisfied? 

Conscience: Relatively. Let us probe a little 
deeper. Meanwhile you admit that China is not 
actually a democracy? 

Ego: Certainly. But I sincerely believe that its 
fundamental trend is democratic, that no matter 
how long it takes, the democratic instincts of the 
Chinese masses will ultimately prevail and that in 
the meantime a Chinese victory over Japan cannot 
only help save democracy in the West but conceiv- 
ably prevent the other predatory States, Germany 
and Italy, from starting a new world war. There- 
fore I am able whole-heart 

Conscience: You cannot possibly be whole- 
hearted about a State in which the principles of 
liberalism and individualism are daily spat upon. 

Ego: To what are you referring? 

Conscience: Do you call Donald a liberal, with 
his constant talk of "Shoot him! shoot him!" when- 
ever any Chinese opposes Chiang or goes counter 
to his ideas of how China should be run? 

Ego: Donald has served China with complete 

Conscience: China as he conceives it. But a China 
without any of that tolerance, that broad human 
sympathy, that strictly formal justice alike for all 
in short, that dwindling liberalism for which you 
struggle every day of your life. 


Ego: It cannot come all at once. Liberalism and 
law and tolerance can hardly be promulgated dur- 
ing a great war among a people of illiterates who, 
as you properly insisted, sell their children to die 
in tin mines. Put it this way. By diminishing the 
chances of a new war a Chinese victory could, at the 
worst, bring about a fortification of Occidental 
liberalism, for liberalism can, in the long run, only 
flourish in peace. But not in a peace of servile 
submission to violence or armed threats of violence. 
By defying imperialist semi-fascist Japan, soft old 
China has put itself in the category of Belgium in 
1914. Attending the funeral of King Albert a few 
years ago, I could not but contrast the universal 
homage rendered to the man who defied the might 
of Imperial Germany, with the all but universal 
contempt felt for that militarist bully, the ex- 
Kaiser. At its best, however, a Chinese victory can 
mean the complete stopping of the present political 
rot the tendency to return to the rule of the brute, 
the maniac and the moron. Therefore it is eminently 
proper to take a chance on China. Besides I have a 
personal liking for the Chinese. 

Conscience: If I am not mistaken, you also like 
the Germans and the Italians. This eloquence of 
yours cannot quite satisfy me : and until I am satis- 
fied, please remember, you will remain uneasy 

Ego (angrily) : Of course it does not satisfy me 
either. But I make a distinction between the (to 
me) failing of peoples who are really doing their 


best, improving, growing, and those who are de- 
teriorating and ought to know better. 

(Conscience raises tired eyebrows . . . ?) 
Ego: Take the Russians, for example. Unques- 
tionably, for sheer frightfulness the Russians are 
number one among great contemporary peoples. 
Their inter-party purges, their massacres of here- 
tics, cannot be matched for cold-blooded cruelty in 
modern times. Cruelty, however, represents nothing 
new in Russia, a country that has never had any 
proper civilization. But cruelty is not made a prin- 
ciple in Russia, though one might argue that it 
follows inevitably from an attempt to fit men into 
inhuman social forms. One might even say that the 
Russians are seeking in theory, on a vast human 
scale, a freedom entirely incompatible with their 
economic premises and that their ruthlessness is the 
logical result of disappointment. Moreover, owing 
to a combination of anti-imperialistic theory and 
vast area, Russia is no longer territorially aggres- 
sive, while rising nationalism has blunted the point 
of communist proselytism. On this account democ- 
racy can, if alert, safely ally itself with the Soviets 
in opposition to militant aggression. 

Unhappily, in both Germany and Italy the situa- 
tion is quite the reverse. Though the amount of 
physical frightfulness is incomparably less, neither 
of these countries has a valid excuse for its rever- 
sion to barbarism. The Italians can look back upon 
perhaps the most glorious past in Europe. Just 


before Mussolini there was in Italy a mild renas- 
cence of spiritual vitality in science, letters and the 
arts, as well as great technical ability. Mussolini 
deliberately strangled this new flowering in order 
to pursue the mirage of national glory on the cheap- 
est plane, thereby preparing a new period of Italian 

In Germany the situation is even worse. While 
unquestionably less profoundly civilized than the 
Italians (owing to the lack of Mediterranean tradi- 
tion and to conquest by Prussia), the Germans had 
been one of the leading peoples of our time, a 
source of unlimited promise. Nothing seemed be- 
yond them. But they arrogantly challenged the 
world, were defeated and lacked the courage to face 
their own deficiencies. Instead of repenting the bru- 
tal aggression of 1914 and repudiating the essen- 
tially false philosophies of violence and immoral- 
ism that led them into it, they preferred to follow 
an Austrian "drummer" who laid the blame for 
their misery elsewhere. It is no excuse to allege that 
they came hungry and late to the imperialist ban- 
quet; for the banquet itself was already souring in 
the stomachs of the earlier guests. The proper line 
for both Italy and Germany, to say nothing of 
Japan, was not to dragoon their peoples into helotry 
in a belated attempt to wrest colonial and other 
possessions from their owners, but to champion 
anti-imperialism; not to attempt by increased pop- 
ulation and brutality to extend their frontiers, but 


to help devaluate frontiers as such. Missing the 
proper course they threw themselves into the arms 
of charlatans who promised fulfillment through re- 
gression. The Germans were poisoned by pride, the 
Italians by wounded vanity. Thereby they and not 
Russia became the primary contemporary enemies 
of mankind. For whereas for a symbol for the Rus- 
sian people one might select the uncouth figure of 
some Caliban late wakened from the clay, for Italy 
and Germany one is obliged to point to the example 
of Judas. And like Judas they will hardly obtain, 
or obtaining, enjoy, the reward of their betrayal. 

In contrast with Russia, backward but facing the 
light, Germany and Italy, though more advanced, 
are deliberately struggling back into darkness. 

China looks the same way as Russia. Though 
traditionally perhaps the most advanced of peoples, 
China had sunk into deliquescence. Out of this rank 
disintegration the Chinese are obviously emerging. 
Under the influence of nationalism, the same force 
that is playing so much havoc in Italy and Germany 
and Japan 

Conscience: Precisely. You applaud in China 
what you condemn in the European tyrannies. 

Ego: Only to a superficial view. For whereas 
China has had too little national conscience, Italy 
and Germany and Japan are suffering from a fester- 
ing excess of it, as the Pope pointed out the other 
day. While Hitler and Mussolini are busy urging 
the destruction of civilized values, the Chinese are 


turned in the direction of universality. Or so it 
seems to me. 

Conscience: What sober reason have you for be- 
lieving that this New China, of which there is much 
talk in your book, will not eventually turn into a 
new and vaster imperialist empire, with even 
mightier appetites than the States you so deplore, 
constituting an even greater danger to what you 
somewhat glibly call civilization; what guarantee is 
offered that Chiang Kai-shek will not, if successful, 
turn into another openly fascist leader, snatching 
his country from the ranks of your friends over into 
those of your enemies, as Pilsudski and his succes- 
sor Beck did with renascent Poland? 

Ego: I could allege several reasons; but funda- 
mentally my confidence in the emergence of a demo- 
cratic enlightened China is based upon an emo- 
tional intuition. China simply does not feel fascist, 
totalitarian, retrograde. 

Conscience: Then you base an entire line of con- 
duct, to say nothing of writing a book favorable 
to China, on nothing more solid than a hunch? 

Ego: Certainly not. Though I believe China to be 
evolving in the right direction, I should support that 
country even were I sure of later transformation 
into fascism. For in thwarting the Japanese aggres- 
sors, the Chinese will have hamstrung one of the 
contemporary world's three Public Enemies. By 
fighting and immobilizing one of them it has seri- 
ously reduced the chance of successful aggression 


elsewhere by the other two. After all, despite my 
interest in China, for me the real battle is being 
fought in the Occident, Already the Chinese are con- 
ceivably saving the finest Occidental youth from 
premature death, and the Continent of Europe from 
devastation. And even supposing that, Japan once 
thwarted and humbled, China should herself 
emerge some ten or twenty years hence as a new 
and more powerful aggressor, I would answer that 
the danger to democracy is now, not in a decade or 
two, when the wave of resurgent barbarism will 
either have triumphed or passed. Since more de- 
mocracy is an absolute essential to a higher civiliza* 
tion or even to the preservation of the little that 
exists, at this moment the Chinese are truly defend- 
ing the future of civilized man. 

Conscience: Well roared, Bottom. Yet the pre- 
requisite of optimism is that the Chinese continue to 
defend themselves. Having witnessed and described 
the pitiful weakness of the Chinese armies, the rela- 
tive inefficiency of Chinese methods, the generally 
low level of the Chinese officers, can you continue 
soberly to predict a Chinese success? 

Ego: I can. Given adequate leadership, mainte- 
nance of the present high morale and new found 
unity, sufficient funds or credits, some economic 
development of the Chinese Southwest, the pos- 
sibility of obtaining regularly war material abroad 
and, finally, an open line of communications for 
the reception of this material, China ought not to 


be beaten- Sooner or later It will be up to Japan to 
decide whether it wishes to limit its objectives and 
withdraw to the north with considerable plunder 
but great loss of face and the possibility of a new 
and worse war on its hands five years thence; or 
whether it prefers to continue an indecisive strug- 
gle until forced by sheer exhaustion to clear out, 
not only of occupied China, but conceivably from 
stolen Manchuria as well. . . . Always supposing 
there be no general war in the meantime. . . . 

If this be propaganda, then, Conscience, make the 
most of it. Conscience! Conscience! Where are you? 

I listened. There was no answering voice. Bored 
or satisfied, Conscience had gone to sleep. 



Able-bodied Youth Movement, 
44, 136 

Agriculture, 206-208 

Airplanes, sale of American, 
30, 41-42, 83-84; Chinese, 55- 
56, 135436 

Air raids, 41-42, 43, 92-94, 99- 
100, 102, 112-113, 203 

America. See United States. 

Amoy, 44, 153 

Anking, 158 

Anti-communism, 11, 15, 163 

Anti-Japanese University (Com- 
munist), 174 

Antimony deposits, 206 

Arms and ammunition. See 

Army, 73, 134ff., 138, 148, 154- 
155, 175; German military ad- 
visers, 4, 31, 44, 54, 59, 138, 
143, 151, 152. See Army 

Army corps: Fourth Route, 39; 

Buck, John Lossing, 207 
Burma road, 206 

Canton, 31, 34-46, 152, 181, 201 

Canton-Hankow Railway, 32, 
39, 49, 147, 162, 201 

Cash bonus system, 176 

Cecil, Lord Robert, 79 

Central government, Pekin, 11 

Chahar, 145 

Chang, Bulson, 191 

Changsha-Chungking road, 205 

Chen Cheng, General, 199-200 

Chen Chen-sze, 102ff., 124 

Chengchow, 94 

Cheng Sheng, General, 100 

Chengtu, 58, 60-68, 166, 183- 
184, 206 

Chiang Kai-shek, 12, 15, 17, 24, 
38, 49, 66, 67, 73, 74, 77, 79, 
80-82, 87, 90, 126, 127, 131, 
138, 146ff., 158, 159, 163, 169, 
189, 199 

Eighth Route, 87, 137, 173; ^Chiang Kai-shek, Madame, 78, 
Nineteenth Route, 12, 44, 8lT 79 t > 82-84, 86, 87, 91, 177, 180- 

126; Twenty-seventh Route, 
110; Sixtieth Route, 73 
Arnold, Julian, quoted, 187-188 
Association for War Support 

Against the Enemy, 183 
Association of Chinese Women 
to Support the National De- 
fense, 180 

Bandits, 65 

Berlin, Japanese support by, 31 

Bolshevism, 13, 15, 16, 24, 26, 

77, 87, 164 
BomJbing raids, Japanese, 41, 

42, 43, 92-94, 98, 99-100, 102, 

112-113, 203 
Boycotts, 165 
Boy Scouts, 63 
British Volunteer Corps, 32 

181, 185, 218 
China, Japan's invasion of, 7-19. 

See New China. 
China Defense League, 87 
Chou En-lai, 173, 190 
Chow, General, 44 
Chu, Dr. K. T., 43 
Chu Zho-hwa, 63, 184, 185 
Chungking, 49, 55-59, 159, 160- 

161, 202, 205, 208-209 
Chungking University, 58 
Coal deposits, 208 
Communism, 11, 15, 87-88, 126, 

137, 158, 173-175, 182-183, 190 
Concessions, foreign, 9, 26, 47, 

Conscription, introduction of, 




Consulates, Japanese interfer- 
ence with, 27-28 
Copper deposits, 206, 208 
Cotton production, 27, 207 
Credit, foreign, 213ff. 

Defense decisions, 147 
Doihara Division, operations 

against, 94ff. 
Donald, W. H., 86 
Drama, propaganda, 166-169, 


Eden, Anthony, 18 

Embargo, 165 

England. See Great Britain. 

Epidemic prevention, 43 

Ethiopia, 14 

Exports and imports, 213-215 

Factories, Japanese destruction 
of, 27; transference of, 201- 

Falkenhausen, General von, 4, 
31, 151, 152 

Farmers' Education for Na- 
tional Defense, 172 

Fascism in China, 15, 77 

Feminist movement, 177-186 

Financial problems, 16, 26, 78, 
90, 192, 213-220 

First-aid groups, 181 

Foreign missions. See Missions. 

Foreign Trade Commission, 207 

France, 9, 14, 15, 45, 47, 48, 
163, 164 

French Concession in Hankow, 
47, 48 

"French Railway," 41, 69-70, 
163, 205 

Germany, 9, 14, 15, 17, 22, 30, 
42, 47, 163, 164; military ad- 
visers from, 4, 31, 44, 54, 59, 
138, 143, 151, 152 

Girl Guides, 63, 182 

Gold, transfer of, 212 

Gold deposits, 208 

Government offices, transfer of, 
203, 206 

Grayburn, Sir Vandeleur, 20, 23, 

Great Britain, 7, 9, 13, 14, 15, 
17, 20fL, 32, 41, 45, 47, 163, 
164, 201 

Guerrilla warfare, 25, 26, 137- 
138, 154, 155, 159, 164, 184 

Hainan, 205 

Haip-hong, 205 

Hankow, 22, 31, 44, 45, 47-54, 

74, 151, 152, 153, 156, 158-161, 

181, 200, 201, 206 
"Highwaymen's Alliance," 163 
Hitler, Adolf, 14 
Ho Kwo-kwang, General, 58-59, 


Home industries, 181 
Hong Kong, 9, 20, 23, 27, 29, 

30, 31-33, 39, 45, 159, 161, 

163, 200-201, 205, 213 
Hong Kong-Hankow Railway, 

Hong Kong Volunteer Defense 

Corps, 45 

Hopei Province, 14 
Hopei-Shahar Government, 16 
Hospital organization, 43 
Hsueh-yo, General, 101 
Hu, Victor, 166 

Huang, Major-General J. L., 176 
Hull, Cordell, 41 
Hunan Province, 202 
Hupei Province, 202 

Imperialism in China, Occiden- 
tal colonial, 8fL 

Imports and exports, 213-215 

Indo-China railway (French), 
41, 69-70, 163, 205 

Industries, 27, 83, 177; trans- 
ference of, 201 

Institutions, transfer of, 203, 204 

International Concessions, Jap- 
anese attitude toward, 28 

International Peace Campaign, 

Iron deposits, 208 

Italy, 23-13, 14, 15, 31, 42, 163, 

Japan: aggressive policies of, 
7ff., 144ff.; monopolistic ex- 



ploitation by, 22fL; inhuman 
practices of, 24-25; ineffi- 
ciency of army, 25, 54; losses 
of, 154; weaknesses of, 209- 
Jehol, Province of, 14, 145 

Kaifeng, 98, 99, 154 
Kellogg Peace Pact, 12 
Knatchbull-Hugessen, Sir Hughe 

Montgomery, 210 
Kung, H. H., 78, 85, 217 
Kung, Madame, 78, 84-85, 86, 87 
Kunming, 68-75, 205 
Kuomintang party, 11, 36, 37, 

52, 74, 76, 77, 131, 173, 175, 

Kwangsi Province, 4, 181, 191- 

192, 200, 204, 205, 206 
Kwangtung Province, 4, 38, 43- 

44, 191-192, 204, 218 
Kweichow Province, 200, 204, 


Kweiteh, 154 
Kweiyang, 205 
Kwei Yung-chun, General, 110, 

119, 120 

Labor problems, 83 

Lanchow, 206, 213 

Lanfeng, 94ff., 154 

Lanson, 205 

Laval, Pierre, 14 

League of Nations, 12, 13, 14, 

15, 18, 79, 188 
Lieu, D. K., 204, 206 
Lingnan Missions University, 


Li Tsung-yin, General, 153 
Li Tsyng-jen, General, 100 
Liu Siang, Marshal, 66, 203 
Liu Wan-hwei, Marshal, 66 
Live stock, 207 
Loans, capital, 215 
Long-yun, General, 71, 72 
Lu Han, General, 73 
Lunghai, 96, 97ff., 147, 153, 156, 

157, 158 
Lunghai Railway, 96, 97ff., 147, 

153, 155, 156, 157, 158 

Manchuria, 12, 14, 145 

Marco Polo Bridge incident, 17, 
38, 145, 172 

Markets, Japanese occupation 
of, 27 

Mass Education Movement, 168, 
171-172, 181 

Miao, Yun T., 192 

Military advisers, 4, 31, 44, 54, 
59, 138, 143, 151, 152 

Minerals, 205, 206, 207 

Missionary West Union Univer- 
sity, 62 

Missions, 98, 99, 113, 114, 222 

Mongokuo, 23 

Mongolia, expedition into, 14 

Moving pictures, patriotic, 169- 

Munitions, 30, 83-84, 135-136 

Mussolini, Benito, 14 

Nakamura, Toyoishi, 22, 30 
Nanking, 16, 25, 26, 45, 74, 149, 

151, 171, 205 
Nanking University, 59 
Nan-moo, 207 
Narcotics, 7, 17, 83, 148, 162, 


National Army. See Army. 
National Bureau of Economic 

Research, 201, 204 
National Chinese University, 63 
National Government, 58, 66 
Nationalism, growing sense of, 

38, 126ff., 177-186 
National Resources Commission, 

201, 204 

Naval Limitations Treaty, 11 
New China, 29, 34, 67-68 
New Life Movement. See Puri- 
tan New Life Movement. 
Nickel deposits, 208 
Nine-Power Treaty, 11, 12 
Northcote, Sir Geoffrey, 20, 45 

Oi Kwan Hotel, Canton, 35 
Open-door policy, 10, 23, 27 
Opium, 63-64, 70, 73, 132, 203, 


Orange crop, 207 
Oriented Economist, quoted, 




Pacification Commission of 
Szechwan and Sikiang Prov- 
inces, 63, 66 

Pai Hsung-chi, General, 138, 
155, 199 

Panay incident, 22, 112, 210 

Patriotism. See Nationalism. 

Peipei, 209 

Peiping, 147, 148 

Peiping-Hankow railway, 47, 49, 

Petroleum deposits, 208 

Pinghan railway, 92, 147, 156 

Portugal, 9 

Power plants, 209 

Propaganda, 104, 112, 166ff. 

Proverbs, quoted by Kunming, 

Provincial Government, 
Chengtu, 58 

Provisional Government (Pei- 
ping), 25. See "Puppet gov- 

"Puppet governments," 12, 23, 
25, 146, 14S, 162, 189 

Puritan New Life Movement, 
77, 82, 87, 173, 175-176 

Pu-yi, Emperor, 12 

Railways, 32, 42, 147, 203, 205, 
209, 221; Canton-Hankow, 32, 
39, 49, 147, 162, 201; French 
(Indo-China), 41, 69-70, 163, 
205; Hong Kong-Hankow, 42; 
Lunghai, 96, 97ff., 147, 153, 
155, 156, 157, 158; Peiping- 
Hankow, 47, 49, 148; Ping- 
han, 92, 147, 156; Tsinpu, 

Recruits, training, 44 

Red Cross corps, 182 

Refugees, 115-116, 176 

Resources, natural, 206-209 

Rice yield, 206, 207 

Roadways, 205-206 

Rogers, Cyril, 217 

Rome-Berlin Axis, 15 

Roosevelt, President, 84, 165 

"Ruining China" campaign, 162- 

"Rump" China, 200, 206, 207 

Russia, 9, 10, 11, 12, 18, 24, 30, 
47, 87, 157-158, 164. See 
Soviet Rus 

Salt domes, 208 

Shahar Province, 14 

Shameen, 35 

Shanghai, 12, 20, 24, 27, 31, 145, 

149-151, 201 
Shanghai Expeditionary Force, 

Shanghai "incident," 18, 22, 


Shantung Province, 10, 11 
Shiyukow, 208 
Sian, 157-158, 190 
Silk industry, 207, 219 
Sokolsky, George, quoted, 9, 

187, 189-190 
Songs, war, 46 

Soong Ai-ling. See Kung, Mad- 

Soong, Charles Jones, 77, 78 
Soong Ching-ling. See Sun Yat- 

sen, Madame. 

Soong family, 76ff., 131, 180 
Soong Mei-ling. See Chiang Kai- 
shek, Madame. 
Soong, T. V., 12, 78-79, 85, 87, 

88-90, 156, 201, 216, 217 
Soviet Russia, 12, 24, 30, 87, 

146, 161, 210 
Spanish war, 15 
Stimson, Secretary, 13 
Stimson Doctrine, 14 
Strategy, Chinese, 154-155 
Suchow, 153 
Sugar cane, 207 
Suiyuan Province, 14 
Sung, General, 16 
Sun Yat-sen, 11, 34, 38, 76, 81, 

90, 169 

Sun Yat-sen, Madame, 77, 86-88 
Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, 37 
Sun Yat-sen Memorial Tower, 


Sun Yat-sen University, 37, 42 
Szechwan Province, 57, 59, 60- 

68, 159-161, 191, 200, 203, 205, 




Szechwan Reconstruction Com- 
mission, 206 
Szechwan University, 62 

Taierhchwang, victory of, 153 

Tariffs, revision of, 28 

Ten Chi-ho, Marshal, 6S 

Textile problems, 83 

Theatrical Troupe for the Pro- 
motion of Resistance, 168 

"Three Principles" doctrine, 

Tieh-sua, Miss, 181 

tin deposits, 70, 205, 206, 208, 
209, 221 

Ting-ling, Miss, 182 

Tobacco production, 207 

Tong, Hollington, 80 

Tseliuching, 208 

Tseng Yang-fu, 36, 41 

Tsinpu Railway, 152 

Tungmenhui, the, 76 

Tungsten, 205, 206 

"Twenty-one Demands," Japan's, 

United States, 10-11, 13-14, 30, 

164-165, 201 
Universities, transfer of, 203, 


War Area Service Corps, 176 

Warships, British, 32 

War songs, 46 

War supplies. See Munitions. 

Water power, 206, 209 

Women, increasing importance 

of, 177-186; industries for, 83, 

177, 181 

Women's Voice, 183 
Wood oil, 207 
Wuchang, 49 
Wuhan Province, 47-54 
Wu Te-chen, 36 

Yang Chi-yi, Marshal, 63 
Yangtse Valley, 145, 151 
Yellow River, expedition, 91- 

124; dykes, 97, 124, 154 
Yen, Dr. Y. C. James, 171-172 
Yenan, 174 

Yen Shi-shan, Marshal, 191 
Young, Arthur, 217 
Yuan Shi-kai, 11 
Yu Han-mo, General, 44 
Yunnan Province, 68-75, 184- 

186, 191-192, 200, 204, 206 

Zinc deposits, 208